Illegal Eviction and Covid-19

Illegal Eviction and Covid-19

The current outbreak of Covid 19 has brought with it challenges and genuine concerns amongst the population around contracting the disease, the safety and wellbeing of family and friends and the effect upon businesses and livelihoods. What could possibly make matters worse?

Eviction from your home because you are an NHS worker?

We read today of the appalling news that a paramedic has described being evicted from his home because his landlady was concerned that he could spread Covid-19 at the property. This is deeply worrying, not only in the fact that it is raising further concerns that medical staff are being stigmatised because of their contact with the virus but also that this is an unlawful and criminal act.

This was the screenshot of the message that the paramedic received.
Figure 1 First published the Guardian Newspaper all rights reserved Hannah Mays, Sunday 22 Mar 2020 16.58

Such actions are unacceptable and must be addressed. Whilst it is understandable that people have concerns over the virus, these concerns must be metered by advice, information and legality.

Here we remember:

What is illegal eviction?

Landlords must follow the correct procedures to evict tenants and they must give reasonable notice to leave.

Actions that count as illegal eviction

A landlord:
  • forces you to leave by threatening or harassing you
  • physically throws you out
  • stops you from getting into parts of your home
  • changes the locks while you're out
Illegal eviction is a criminal offence and it’s a criminal offence for a landlord to evict you without following the correct legal steps. Landlords usually need to get a court order and ask bailiffs to evict you if you are a tenant.

You can take these steps when you are evicted illegally:
  • contact the police 
  • contact your council for advice and support
  • apply for an illegal eviction injunction  
  • make sure you get your belongings back
  • take action to get your deposit back (we see here from the screen capture that there is an offer to “charge you for the week and refund everything” but we suggest a home is what would be preferred)
  • apply for compensation
If anyone is facing similar circumstances remember that you can get free legal advice.