Unlawful Eviction - The ifs and buts!

Posted on May 10, 2016.

Illegal eviction by a landlord or someone acting on behalf of a landlord is a criminal offence and can result in prosecution and a criminal record. The Protection from Eviction Act 1977 protects residential occupiers. Breaches of the Act can give rise to a civil action and be a criminal offence. A residential occupier is defined as a person who has a legal right to occupy accommodation as a residence, or to restrict other people from gaining possession of the accommodation. This means that licensees and members of their household are residential occupiers for as long as they remain in lawful occupation. Any licensee is protected while their contract (written or verbal) is still in effect. If the contract has ended or been brought to an end by a valid notice, then the protection will usually not end as most occupiers are protected further by the fact that a court order is required before they can be legally evicted. For most occupiers, it is necessary for the landlord to give a minimum of 28 days notice (plus a recommended 4 administrative days), and obtain a court order for possession after the period of notice has expired. The occupier only ceases to be a residential occupier within the meaning of the Protection from Eviction Act once the court order has been obtained and has come into force. If a suspended possession order is in place, the occupier only ceases to be a residential occupier once the terms of the suspended order are breached. Global Guardians ensures that all of our guardians understand the terms and conditions of the legal contract that the sign up with us. Unlike a tenancy agreement our guardian license is a non-exclusive temporary contract for the living space of the property. This means that when our contract with a property owner is terminated for a specific property our license agreement with our guardian is automatically terminated. This does not mean that we will move our guardians out immediately, but it does mean that at this point we will serve notification of termination of the guardian’s license agreement with us. This gives our guardians four weeks’ notice to vacate the premises, under the Protection of Eviction act 1977. Due to the nature of our business we try to re-locate as many of our guardians as possible in new Global Guardians properties but we do not guarantee 100% retention. In order to avoid any misunderstandings we actively request that all potential guardians read the terms and conditions of the license agreement before signing. We also encourage current guardian to refresh their knowledge of the license agreement that they have signed to fully appreciate their legal obligations. During our induction process our professional staff members will talk new guardians through the key points of the license agreement to ensure that this is the right decision for them. If you have any questions regarding Prevention from Eviction Act 1977, please don't hesitate to contact myself and our very experienced team who will be happy to answer and help you manage your void properties safely today.

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