Charity claims illegal evictions in England hit record high

Charity claims illegal evictions in England hit record high

0:01 AM, 28th December 2023, About 5 months ago 6

Text Size

A housing charity claims that the number of illegal evictions in England has hit a record high but less than 1% of landlords are convicted, the Observer reports.

The article says that landlords are increasingly evicting tenants illegally and with little fear of punishment.

In 2022, the housing charity Safer Renting says there was a record 8,748 cases of illegal eviction, 12% more than the previous year’s 7,778 cases.

However, only 26 landlords were convicted by the Ministry of Justice in 2022, which is 0.3% of the total number of cases that year.

Removing tenants from their homes

Illegal eviction, which involves forcefully removing tenants from their homes without a court order or legal reason, is – the newspaper claims – ‘often violent’ and results in tenants losing their possessions to their landlords.

Labour MP Karen Buck compared the practice to domestic abuse, stating that ‘illegal eviction often takes place out of sight, involving violence. It is the most brutal of robberies.’

The Observer says it has heard stories of victims having life-saving medication or passports stolen, leaving them unable to receive homeless support from local councils.

The number of illegal evictions

The government does not formally collect data on the number of illegal evictions and Safer Renting has compiled statistics by counting the number of cases logged by charities that support victims of the practice.

They say this means the figures are likely to be an underestimate.

The cases documented by the charity and convictions recorded by the Ministry of Justice could potentially include many offences by the same landlord.

Now the charity says that the delay to the abolition of section -no-fault’ evictions means councils need more resources to clamp down on illegal eviction – and that landlords should face stiffer financial penalties if found guilty of illegal eviction.

In August, the Metropolitan Police revealed it would start arresting landlords illegally evicting tenants and the Observer says most London boroughs do not now employ staff to deal with illegal evictions.

 ‘Illegal eviction is a criminal offence’

A spokesperson for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities told the newspaper: “Illegal eviction is a criminal offence and the government is clear it will not be tolerated.

“Through our Renters (Reform) Bill, we are placing a duty on councils to protect tenants against landlords who illegally evict and harass them.

“We are also giving them new powers to issue fines to landlords of up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution.”

For help and advice to legally evict a tenant, contact Landlord Action: 

Contact Landlord Action

Specialists in tenant eviction and debt collection. Regulated by The Law Society.

Share This Article



10:59 AM, 28th December 2023, About 5 months ago

Withholding Housing benefit should be a criminal offence.

Chris @ Possession Friend

10:59 AM, 28th December 2023, About 5 months ago

Looking at Safer Renting's own report, the figure of ' 8748 ' cases of Illegal eviction ? are a total of the allegations made to Tenant-specific advice and legal aid agencies.

One would believe that such allegations are being made in the most favourable environment for free Legal assistance.

The conclusion on the very low number of cases brought before the courts ( let alone ) even less convictions, is a testament to the lack of substance and evidence behind such allegations.

Of course, the authors do not consider to what extent the of absence of effective legal redress for Housing matters is impacting the rate of illegal evictions ( not that such would justify breaking the law. Its more the environment that Tenant groups have campaigned for that might have encouraged wrong-doing by desperation )

Chris @ Possession Friend

12:41 PM, 28th December 2023, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by TheMaluka at 28/12/2023 - 10:59
It already is a Criminal Offence of Pecuniary Advantage Contrary to Sections 15 or 16 of the Theft Act, 1978.
" deception" means any deception (whether deliberate or reckless) by words or conduct as to fact or as to law, including a deception as to the present intentions of the person using the deception or any other person.
Section 16 ;
The cases in which a pecuniary advantage within the meaning of this section is to be regarded as obtained for a person are cases where—
(a)any debt or charge for which he makes himself liable or is or may become liable (including one not legally enforceable) is reduced or in whole or in part evaded or deferred; or
(b)he is allowed to borrow by way of overdraft, or to take out any policy of insurance or annuity contract, or obtains an improvement of the terms on which he is allowed to do so ; or
(c)he is given the opportunity to earn remuneration or greater remuneration in an office or employment, or to win money by betting.
To repeatedly claim and receive a (Housing) benefit, not for the purpose it was claimed can easily be understood to be fraud, if not Pecuniary Advantage.
However, given that Police have no interest in dealing with other clear, criminal acts of theft or Criminal damage by tenants, there's little hope of getting the benefit fraud dealt with.
In my view, it would take a collective / organisationally funded 'Test case' of a private prosecution against a deserving Tenant to highlight this matter.

Michael Booth

15:41 PM, 28th December 2023, About 5 months ago

I have had a number of tenants just stop.paying their rents and still being paid by the social , that to me is fraud .


16:30 PM, 28th December 2023, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Chris @ Possession Friend at 28/12/2023 - 12:41
I don't think that a test case against a tenant for breaching s.15 of the 1978 Act will get very far; it only has seven sections (and two of those have been repealed).

Perhaps you meant section 15 of the 1968 Act, but a case under that section would be similarly impossible; it was repealed seventeen years ago.


16:56 PM, 28th December 2023, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Michael Booth at 28/12/2023 - 15:41
Unfortunately the official attitude is that once the housing benefit has been paid to the tenant it is the tenant’s money to with as he pleases. This despite only being able to receive HB when proof of a tenancy is provided. Not just fraud but officially sanctioned fraud.

Leave Comments

In order to post comments you will need to Sign In or Sign Up for a FREE Membership


Don't have an account? Sign Up

Landlord Tax Planning Book Now