Illegal Eviction – A True Story

by Readers Question

9:26 AM, 24th August 2012
About 8 years ago

Illegal Eviction – A True Story

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Illegal Eviction – A True Story

As this is a true story about an illegal eviction I would like to remain anonymous please.

I witnessed it, it wasn’t my property and it was not a scene you would associate with an illegal eviction. No thugs with baseball bats, just respectable people in a respectable suburb close and the Police keeping a watchful eye on proceedings. It was well organised. I was invited to attend three days before by two separate people, the landlords arranging the illegal eviction and my tenants who lived three doors along. So what was it all about?

Background

The landlord in question had made a big mistake, a mistake he considered to be much bigger than the one he was planning. He had let his property to four single young lads. He took them on face value when he met them and felt they looked like respectable young men. He thought he had done his due diligence as he had checked they were all employed and had the ability to pay the rent. He couldn’t check their background though as they were from another country, until now they had all been living with friends.

The day they moved in they had a party, the neighbours were miffed as it went on all night but didn’t say too much about it. The same thing happened the next night and then the night after. The group of party goers was growing too and by this time the neighbours were getting very upset as they were losing sleep. The parties were as much in the street and the garden as in the house. On the 4th night there was a fight and the Police were called. This became a regular occurrence apparently. I didn’t get to hear much about this straight away but was eventually informed when my tenants told me that they were looking for another place and wanted to know how to serve notice when they found one.  I wasn’t sure what to do. However, a few days after I’d first heard about this my tenants called me back to say that the four lads were being evicted at 11am on Saturday and did I want to go along. I then had a similar call within an hour from the landlords of the other property, I’d never met them or had any dealings with them before and even at that point I had no idea that they were planning an illegal eviction.

The day of the illegal eviction

Curiosity got the better of me on the day, it was a bit like driving past a car crash – you know you shouldn’t be rubber necking but it’s hard not to isn’t it?

I parked my car about half a mile away and walked around to meet my tenants who live three doors up. I arrived about half an hour early as I wanted to hear all the gossip. My tenants 14 year old daugher answered the door and told me that everybody was meeting in the house a few doors down across the rad.  I popped over, introduced myself and was welcomed in and offered tea and biscuits. All of the residents of the close were there. It was only then I found out that the troublesome tenants had only been there six weeks. Clearly this was an illegal eviction but this was far from a lynch mod, the average age was about 65 and they all seemed nice people.

Just before 11am the police arrived, one of the wives of the residents had called them as she was getting worried about what might happen. I just kept my mouth shut.

They all stood on the garden watching as the landlords, an elderly husband and wife knocked on the tenants door. The police stood at the end of the short garden path leading to the door. Come on they said, pack your stuff, you’ve had your warning, it’s eviction day and you are out of here. The tenants saw the police, apologised profusely, packed their stuff and left. I couldn’t believe what I had seen. When it was all over and they had gone it was back for more tea and sandwiches.

I just couldn’t help talking to the other landlords at this point.

You do know that what just happened was illegal don’t you, I said. I expected to have to tell them all about landlord and tenant law but they politely nodded and said, yes we do. Are you aware of the potential consequences, I asked. Oh yes, they replied, “we’ve taken advice from a solicitor who told us that the reality is that we might be slapped with a fine of a few thousand pounds and be forced to pay damages if these tenants take matters any further. That’s well worth it to keep the peace though in our opinion and we are willing to take the risk.”

“Wouldn’t you?” they asked.

 


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Comments

16:40 PM, 27th August 2012
About 8 years ago

I think I know
these guys, I’ve just let them one of my houses!!

19:52 PM, 27th August 2012
About 8 years ago

Now if the other residents had done it as a group without the landlord being present....
They would thenn all refuse to say who the leader was...

2:16 AM, 28th August 2012
About 8 years ago

If you are 'resident' at the property and it is a normal dwelling property then no AST's will be required and you can issue lodgers agreements.
Then they can be given 1 months notice and removed by the police if they fail to leave.
Utilities can be in lodgers' names.
Council tax would have to be in your name as you 'live' there, but this could be included in the rent charged.

11:14 AM, 28th August 2012
About 8 years ago

Absolutely right..pecuniary advantage..or theft in ordinary terms, by non-payment of rent should be treated as a criminal act with equivalent sanctions.

Ben Reeve-Lewis

3:45 AM, 29th August 2012
About 8 years ago

Given that my job is to prosecute landlords for illegal eviction I have to say that most of the posters on here are well and truly nicked haha
There was certainly a problem to be dealt with but you really dont understand the law do you? And you wonder why people are calling for licensing and regulation.
I have every sympathy with landlords trying to operate in the real world and I think I have made this clear through my articles but sometomes the comments here really play into Shelter's hands

Ben Reeve-Lewis

9:47 AM, 31st August 2012
About 8 years ago

ActuallyI have to confess, I remember a few years back getting called by a tenant who had been illeglly evicted by her landlord. It had just happened so I jumped on my motorbike and roared around there with my crowbar and exercised powers under Section 6 of The Criminal Law Act 1977 to break her back in.
I was nearly lynched by the neighbours who all ran out in the street protesting that her boyfriend had burgled all of them and they were sick of her. It turned into a major deal and cops were called to subdue the riot. While they were sorting everyone out I jumped on my motorbike and slunk off as fast as I could. She never came back haha

Devon Landlord

11:47 AM, 31st August 2012
About 8 years ago

I fail to understand why failure to pay rent is NOT a criminal offence. I respect that people have a need for somewhere to live (it being a basic need as is food) but they have a responsibility to protect that right by paying rent. Failure to pay rent is, in my humble opinion, theft. If I went in to a shop and walked out with good without paying then I would become a criminal. Why is refusal to pay rent any different, afterall, there are stratagies available to meet both sets of need.
Perhaps someone could enlighten me on the REAL difference between the two forms of theft?

12:53 PM, 31st August 2012
About 8 years ago

Legally and morally you were correct in your actions.
But you can see it from the neighbours perspective aswell.
Personally I think it is about time LL were accountable for ther actions.
So if a tenant doesn't pay rent and after the fact it can be proven that rent wasn't paid, then no wrongful eviction.
If not then the LL should have to pay prescribed court damages.
Then No LL without an absolute certainty of non-rent payment would evict a tenant.
Your case, if it can be proven the boyfriend was robbing then yes eviction should be immediate.
Again if it could be proven that there was no wrongdoing from the property then again the LL would pay prescribed damages.
I think you will find that only about 2 % of LL would have to pay prescribed damages as all the other evictions would have been justified.
We need natural justice awell as justice.
It seems those neighbours exercised natural justice,
I wonder why the evicted tenant didn't take the matter any further.....err because the neigbours had her bang to rights, guvnor!!

Mary Latham

6:31 AM, 1st September 2012
About 8 years ago

A landlord would need to show that the property was his only or prime residence in order to able to let under Licence rather than AST. You cannot change the law with a term in an AST and the law will decide wether it is in fact an AST or a Licence and if it is an AST the law on Possession will apply.

Mary Latham

7:34 AM, 1st September 2012
About 8 years ago

Is this really a discussion for a public forum? Then we wonder why tenants and tenants support groups call for more legislation and regulation.
Euthanasia is considered by some people to be morally right but it is still illegal!

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