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Significant increase in illegal evictions

There has been a sharp rise in illegal evictions by rogue landlords, it has been claimed. 

According to The Independent, illegal evictions have surged by up to 50% in some areas since the coronavirus pandemic began.

One housing officer in London told the newspaper that in one of the most extreme cases, a tenant was beaten unconscious and left homeless and sleeping in a park during the pandemic after he was three days late with his rent. 


More commonly, locks are simply changed and a tenants’ possessions removed from the property without consent.

With a high number of households falling into rent arrears as a consequence of the coronavirus, tenant relations officers (TROs) fear a large jump in illegal evictions in the coming weeks and months.

Legal evictions are once again permitted, but landlords must give six months notice in most cases.  

Solicitor Giles Peaker said: “There are a number of problems with what the government has done. They haven’t dealt with the underlying issue of rent arrears at all. They’ve effectively punted the problem further down the line.”

Ben Reeve-Lewis, a TRO with Safer Renting which works with local authorities and supports tenants facing harassment, also expects to see a spike in illegal evictions.

He commented: “Landlords who wouldn’t generally be in the criminal end of the market are resorting to taking a chance out of frustration with tenants unable to pay their rent.

“We are already feeling it at Safer Renting. With such a big increase in illegal evictions already, we have had to employ another two case workers to cope.

“I've been a TRO for 30 years and never seen it this bad.”

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  • Taifoor Chaudhry

    Total non sense, scaremongering

    Matthew Payne

    I think it is far more common place than you think, especially at the moment and where some tenants have taken advantage of the pandemic, and when there is very little they can do about it in most cases. Tenants have no more ability to address these lock change scenarios than a Landlord has to legally take back possession in the first place, so I can see the numbers rising until the usual status quo returns. It will be also be interesting to see how tolerant lenders are going to be in the coming weeks and months before they start doing similar.


    Unfortunately, a fair few of your fellow commentators knowingly endorse this behaviour - you only have to go back 6 days and read the article entitled, "Fury at potential evictions ban extension" ?


    I do hope this article is true and the rent dodgers get to hear about these probably totally justified if illegal evictions. Why isn't Shelter publicising this?

    They're usually so good at doing things that end up helping landlords!

  • girish mehta

    Another headline pushing anti landlords hype to sell newspapers. The way they present all landlords are rouges.
    Then why are landlords waiting 2 years for eviction. And courts would be free to deal with housing issue.
    Another fake news story to support vested

  • John Cart

    Ben Reeve-Lewis, a TRO with Safer Renting which works with local authorities and supports tenants facing harassment, also expects to see a spike in illegal evictions.

    He commented: “Landlords who wouldn’t generally be in the criminal end of the market are resorting to taking a chance out of frustration with tenants unable to pay their rent.

    No, not frustration with tenants unable to pay their rent. It's frustration with a government refusing to support tenants by introducing a loans scheme for them to pay their rent, as Wales and Scotland have already done, and further frustration with a revamped court procedure deliberately designed to trip up the unwary with more spurious, unnecessary paperwork to make it easy for judges to throw out cases and "keep the plates in the air" for a few months longer.


    Loan scheme... why voluntarily convert a civil proceeding into a criminal proceeding by owing money to the Gov't ?


    John Cart - I have had previous experience of Ben Reeve-Lewis. He is driven by frustrating the attempts of LL's getting possession of their property from Rent Shirking Tenants aka thieves. Hes actually a nice enough guy but doesnt see the business logic of why we as LL's bought property with the deal that the tenant pays rent.
    His simple world view is tenant doesnt pay -LL fault.
    Tenant ruins property - LL fault.
    Tenant sublets to 20 other people - LL fault
    You cannot reason with these people



    The clue is in the title of this article! By using a loan to pay rent arrears, tenants can avoid eviction, illegal or eventual - the main difference is in the length of time taken to achieve it.


    Robert, are you assuming that once the loan has been taken out with the Gov't, and the funds have been transferred to the Landlord (who will obviously be ecstatic), that the tenant will suddenly magic up the money to repay the Gov't ?

    My point is that if circumstances do not change/improve, and the Gov't take the tenant to court for loan arrears, then the tenant could end up in prison which obviously negates the requirement for accommodation... thus rather more obviously negating the requirement for the Gov't loan in the first place ?



    I think the Government is quite good at debt collecting but if not, the debt is shared among all tax payers instead of one innocent landlord having to suffer the entire loss.

  • icon

    Many years ago I owned a newsagents that delivered 1000 papers a day. 6 of them were the independent. The Beano has more circulation power. and as for Ben Reeve Lewis. I wonder if I came to you and agreed to use your services and then failed to pay you if you would still have such an arrogant and ignorant view.

  • icon
    • 22 September 2020 23:02 PM

    @seb forbes

    You underestimate the Govt capacity to recover debts over many years.
    The PAYE system is a very effective Civil Recovery tool!


    PAYE assumes gainful employment which COVID-19 does not currently guarantee. Can I borrow your crystal ball please... because mine has run out of batteries.

    And now for your answer to my 2nd paragraph ?


    Let me answer for Paul

    Why should we be concerned about anything that is in your 2nd paragraph?

    Come to think about it, why should we be bothered about any of your posts? They show a distinct lack of grasp of reality and experience of being a landlord.


    Poor Robert... if you look to the very comment that was below yours (but now below mine once I post it), you will see that Paul beat you to the punch by 22 hours and 8 minutes ?


    In your case, two punches are better than one.

    BTW I am definitely not poor - haven't been for many years and don't expect to ever be poor again, despite the efforts of various Governments and defenders of rent dodgers and others.

  • icon
    • 22 September 2020 23:39 PM

    Of course PAYE isn't a guaranteed civil recovery method as clearly not everyone is in PAYE employment.

    But at least Govt would stand a fair chance of recovery.

    Govt is perfectly able to manage recovery of student loans.
    It shouldn't be too much of a stretch for them to achieve recovery of tenant loans.

    It is irrelevant if by refusing to pay off a tenant loan the tenant ends up in prison which clearly costs a lot more.

    The fact that justice costs is not an economic calculation.

    Democracy and justice costs the State fortunes.

    It is a cost that the UK accepts has to be paid.

    From an economic perspective such justice doesn't make much sense.
    But these are the sanctions that society determines miscreants must suffer.
    Such is life!


    And those that are on benefits can have part of their hand outs stopped for a few yrs, now that would hurt them would't it

    • 23 September 2020 11:19 AM

    Andrew - It will never be enough hurt for me........A few years? What about for life?
    That is much more appropriate.

  • icon
    • 23 September 2020 08:50 AM

    The problem would be that reducing their welfare would act as a disincentive to work.

    There is no moral hazard for the feckless.


    The elliment we are talking about generally have no intension of finding work.


    Andrew, if we are in the game of 'generalisations', and judging by the responses that we find on this forum, is it so surprising that LLs have such a bad reputation - I'm just 'generalising' ?

  • icon
    • 23 September 2020 11:19 AM

    No work.......No benefits!!!!!!!

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    You've got to look at ' Relationships ' and who's a supposed Landlord supporter and who their connections are, for e.g.
    Tessa Shepparson Landlord law blog, - very well connected with Ben Reeves-Lewis and Giles Peaker. ( Pro - tenant defence solicitor )

  • icon
    • 23 September 2020 14:43 PM

    The point here with all these protaganists is that it is all very much in their interests that a thriving PRS exists.

    LL are selling up.
    It will be a slow sell off as it makes sense to sell one property per tax year.

    So if 2.5 million LL sell off one property per tax year in 4 years times about 11 million properties will have been sold off.

    Very few of these properties will be bought by tenants or FTB as they would already have done so as there is plenty of supply.

    The scale of tenant homelessness doesn't bear thinking about.

    It is of course unlikely that every LL will sell one property per year but sufficient will to cause great problems for tenants.

  • icon

    Its very easy to solve illegal evictions just make it legal.


    I agree... and that is exactly what the courts are proposing to do for you ?


    After a totally unjustified delay! Australia can get rent dodgers out in two weeks. We need the same so properties can be let to more deserving tenants willing and able to pay their way.


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