As a locksmith I get many calls like this one.......
“ Hi can you help me, I have one tenant who was 3 months in arrears then, can you believe this. Sub let it to a load of drug addicts who wrecked the property its going to cost 12 k to refurbish it. I was so angry I forced entry when they were out. Paid a man and a lorry to empty the whole lot. Cost me £400.00 everything they owned. Took it all to the local tip, flat screen hi fi ,whole lorry load, can you please come and change the locks for me..... oh and am I doing the right thing.... so what what if I ain’t let em take me to court ...scumbags”
Now, that’s how bad tenants should be legally treated in my opinion. Although, 3 months in arrears is way too long, they deserve to be locked out after 2 months of arrears, max. I’m not condoning this activity, because I wouldn’t even do it. I’m just saying that’s how it should be. If you’re a Landlord with a pair of dinosaur balls like this landlord was, consequently haing no qualms with laughing in the face of the law, then all the more power to you ..... but and it’s a BIG BUT!!!........
IT IS ILLEGAL FOR LANDLORDS TO CHANGE LOCKS?
Just to clarify, yes, it is illegal for a landlord to harass or change the locks to prevent tenants from entering the property. Tenants have a “statutory legal right of “Quiet Enjoyment” which protects them from this kind of abuse. So before you go storming into a property with the intentions of taking the law into your own hands like a crazed wild-west lunatic, think of the consequences.
ACTS OF ILLEGAL EVICTION INCLUDE
changing locks when tenants are out
physically throwing tenants out your home
physically stopping tenants from entering their home.
Landlords have to follow a legal procedure to evict tenants, by serving the correct sections. Illegal eviction is a serious civil and criminal offense, and a landlord can be prosecuted if guilty of doing so.
In most cases, the landlord must obtain a possession order from a county court after serving a valid Notice to Quit. The tenant doesn’t have to leave at this point, and a lot usually don’t. Only the court can decide whether the tenant has to leave the property. It will normally take several weeks before the case is decided in court.
EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE
The landlord does not need to obtain a court possession order to evict if:
you have a resident landlord with whom you share facilities, like the kitchen and bathroom
you are not paying any rent for your accommodation
In these cases, the landlord is only required to give reasonable notice to the tenant to leave the property. Once the notice has elapsed, the tenant becomes a trespasser and the landlord can legally change the locks at the property.
Are you a landlord that has been forced to change locks? Maybe you’re a tenant that has changed the locks. Tell me your story.