Can I personally throw a tenant out and change the locks?

Can I personally throw a tenant out and change the locks?

12:21 PM, 4th August 2014, About 9 years ago 27

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Hi all

I am going to be very brief and leave out information I do not feel relevant so I can get straight to the point.

I have taken over a HMO which has tenants that do not pay rent. (They did initially but not now) There were initially 3 tenants however one has left, so 2 remaining. I want them all out.

There is no agreement and no deposit. Can I personally throw a tenant out and change the locks?

My thoughts/options…

1. Call the police and get them out (squatters) – From my understanding, they are not squatters as they did not enter the properly illegally (they used to pay rent once upon a time)

2. Use a service like landlord action. This is probably the best option, but will take time and money, something I can avoid if the next option is possible.

3. As there is no contract in place, what is stopping me from waiting until they leave the house then going in and changing the locks and then throwing their stuff out? This is something I would never do in a normal tenancy, but this is not a normal case. Can it backfire on me?

I have tried several times to get them to sign an agreement, once signed, I can then serve them a section 21, however they do not want to sign anything.

Interested to hear your thoughts.



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Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

12:29 PM, 4th August 2014, About 9 years ago

Hi Adam

Thank goodness you have asked the question!

If you go with option 3 you run the risk of a very major fine and law suit for damages and may well end up eating porridge for some time too! Whether there is a contract in place or not these people are tenants, have the benefit of a tenancy and all of the associated protection.

Option two is your only sensible choice, unless of course you somehow manage to become a tenant eviction expert overnight by asking around a reading articles on the web.

Beware of option one - see - the author of this particular blog is Ben Reeve-Lewis. It is his full time job to prosecute landlords and the article I've linked he's explained how the Police can so easily land you in trouble.

Sally T

12:47 PM, 4th August 2014, About 9 years ago

By taking them on and taking rent from them you create a contract, which means you have to section 21 them. Do they work or are they in receipt of benefits, if the council pays their rent and their more than 8 weeks in arrears you can get the rent paid direct to you, even if your evicting them 🙂

Mandy Thomson

12:50 PM, 4th August 2014, About 9 years ago

I'm really sorry, but I'm astounded that someone could be running an HMO - which places much more responsibility on a landlord than any other kind of residential let - and not know this.

This link, giving an overview of the accelerated possession procedure might be of use:

For the record, you can't even do this with a lodger (a licencee, not a tenant) in your own home (unless that person is violent).

Don Holmes

13:36 PM, 4th August 2014, About 9 years ago

Without worrying too much about the moral high ground, consider Marks advise also the fine level for illegal eviction, which changing the locks could/would constitute IS 100% the freehold value of the property! On the notice front depending on fuller circumstances you could use section 8 to secure a possession order it's a lot quicker than Sec21 route. if I can help give me a call! Find my details in members profile Don

Alan Loughlin

13:38 PM, 4th August 2014, About 9 years ago

you could bribe them to leave, maybe cheaper in the long run.

Mike T

13:40 PM, 4th August 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "04/08/2014 - 12:29":

I would agree with Mark that your option 2 would be called for here. Obviously to get the best help on this more detail would be required. At the moment we can only wonder how you got into this situation. And ask is there/was there ever a rent book recording their payments or any documents showing what the arears are to date ? I am sure many other questions will spring to forum member's mind's......... The best advice is Get Help from a professional. Good luck with it.

Tessa Shepperson

13:59 PM, 4th August 2014, About 9 years ago

Everyone is absolutely right - from what you say they are probably tenants and you will need to get a court order to get them out. Or risk being sued for a lot of money.

There are a number of options - we have a DIY Eviction guide on my Landlord site which you can read about here

If you want Landlord Action to do the work for you then Landlord Law members get a £30 discount off their first invoice.

Percy Vere

16:07 PM, 4th August 2014, About 9 years ago


You have two options:

Option 1:

Pay them a sum of money to leave once they have handed over the keys and signed a paper giving up possession and have taken their furniture & possessions out of the property.
This is best done on the front doorstep/garden with a closed front door and someone blocking the entrance (s).

Option 2:

Take legal action to evict them. This will cost you time and a lot of money. So be prepared for a long haul on eviction if these 2 don't play fair.

There is another option but don't go for it as it will cost you a lot of money and the prospect of porrige for breakfast most mornings..

Anybody else wondering how you managed to just get hold of an HMO with 2 non paying tenants in occupation?

Renovate To let

16:58 PM, 4th August 2014, About 9 years ago

Just a quick comment that you cannot use the accelerated procedure if you don't have a copy of their contract.

Michael Barnes

20:33 PM, 4th August 2014, About 9 years ago

Have you tried telling them to get out?

They might just go!

If you get them to sign an agreement, then you cannot use section 21 for 6 months (I believe).

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