Renting in the private sector


Landlords must follow strict procedures if they want you to leave your home.

For detailed information about the process, please read the government’s possession action process guide.

The rules are different if you live with your landlord. Read Shelter’s advice for lodgers.

To start the eviction process, your landlord must serve you with a Section 21 notice or a Section 8 notice.

If this happens, contact Shelter straight away. They can help you check if your landlord completed the notice correctly. It will not be valid if they have not filled it in correctly.

Harassment and illegal eviction

Your landlord must not harass you or illegally evict you. This includes: 

  • making threats
  • violence towards you, your household or property
  • entering your home without your permission
  • changing the locks when you are out
  • turning off your heat, water or other services.

If your landlord has done any of the above, you should contact Shelter and contact the police. It is a criminal offence to illegally evict you.

How we can help

If you have been illegally evicted and you are at risk of becoming homeless within 8 weeks, contact us straight away.

In most cases, we cannot take legal action to prevent your eviction. Where we can, we will work with landlords informally to remind them of the law.

Our role is to investigate your landlord’s actions. We will hold them to account if they have illegally evicted you. We may take criminal action against them if we have enough evidence. We will also check if they are following the law in any other properties they let.