Local authorities are exploring new ways to protect private tenants and licensees from eviction. Camden Council (the “council”) recently became the first council to secure an anti-social behaviour injunction against a landlord to protect private tenants from illegal eviction and harassment.
The council secured the injunction against the private landlord, Mr Rasool, on 23 June 2021. It sought the injunction to protect against future attempts to illegally evict and harass private tenants after repeated previous attempts. The council worked with the Met Police in making its application. The injunction prohibits Mr Rasool from going near the property until May 2022 otherwise he will face imprisonment.
This application and consequential decision are an important reminder for property guardian companies about the importance of avoiding any acts or omissions that may be construed as an illegal eviction and/or harassment to guardians. All landlords, licensors and letting agents must follow the correct procedures to evict tenants/licensees. Examples of illegal evictions include:
— Forcing a guardian to leave by threatening or harassing them
— Physically throwing or kicking out a guardian
— Stopping a guardian from getting into parts of their home
— Changing the locks or stopping amenity supplies.
It is a criminal offence to evict a property guardian without carrying out the correct procedures pursuant to the licence agreements and Protection from Eviction Act 1977.
This case is also a useful reminder of the importance of ensuring renters and licensees live in properties that are properly regulated, safe and are treated fairly. HMO licensing is one of the ways to achieve this and hold landlords and property managers to account. We have previously written about the importance of complying with HMO regulations and fire safety rules here.
The injunction is a stringent and novel approach to dealing with landlords/licensors who persistently harass and attempt to illegally drive out their tenants/licensees.
Our highly experienced Property Guardianship team can guide you through the process of understanding your obligations when it comes to HMO licensing, fire safety issues and avoiding allegations of illegal evictions, as well as robustly defending your position when it comes to challenges from property guardians and/or local authorities. If you need help, please get in touch.