How to deal with an illegal eviction by a private landlord

What to do after an illegal eviction

Get emergency accommodation from the council if you need it.

Arrange to get your belongings and deposit back.

Report your landlord to the council and police so they can take action against them.

You can claim compensation against your landlord at the First-tier Tribunal (Housing and Property Chamber).

Emergency accommodation if you’re forced out

Contact the council and make a homeless application. They must give you emergency accommodation if you’ve nowhere to go.

You're entitled to homelessness help even if you can stay with family or friends. You do not have to be living on the streets to be homeless.

Check our guidance on making a homeless application.

If you pay for a hotel or B&B, keep the receipt. You can claim compensation from your landlord to try to get the money back.

If you’re not a British or Irish citizen

Your rights to homeless help from the council could be different. Check our advice on how your immigration status affects your housing options.

Getting your belongings back

Your landlord must return your belongings or allow you access to collect them.

They cannot sell them to cover rent arrears or leave them outside for you to collect.

If your landlord will not give your belongings back

You can use reasonable force to re-enter your home to get your belongings back. Only do this if you feel safe doing so.

It’s best to have the police there when you do this, so they do not think you’re breaking in or causing criminal damage. Tell the council you’re doing this, if they’re involved.

Your landlord can try to make you pay for repairing damage you cause or changing the locks.

If your belongings are damaged or disposed of, you can claim compensation for the costs of replacing them.

Getting your deposit back

If your deposit was protected, contact the deposit scheme. Tell them you were illegally evicted. Ask for your deposit to be returned directly to you. Challenge any deductions your landlord tries to make.

Provide any evidence you have of being illegally evicted, such as:

  • police reports

  • texts or emails from your landlord

  • copies of emails from the council about it

If your deposit was not protected when it should have been, you could get compensation.

Check our guidance on getting your deposit back.

Reporting your landlord to the council

Your landlord must be registered with the council.

If they illegally evict their tenants, this should affect their registration. They may not be able to let out the property in the future.

Contact the council and report them to the landlord registration team. Search for your council's contact details on mygov.scot.

Check our guidance on landlord registration.

Reporting your landlord to the police

Call the police on 101 and report what happened. Quote the crime reference number if you got it previously.

Police should investigate further and take action. Your landlord can be fined, or in very serious cases imprisoned.

If the police did not help you

Illegal eviction is a criminal offence. If the police claim that illegal eviction is a civil matter and refuse to help you, you can make a complaint.

Include any evidence you have, such as:

  • statements from neighbours or other witnesses

  • times you called the police and what you said

  • the names and badge numbers of the police officers, if you have them

Follow Citizens Advice guidance on making a complaint about the police.

Getting compensation for illegal eviction

You can apply for compensation at the First-tier Tribunal (Housing and Property Chamber).

If you have not moved back into your home after an illegal eviction, you can apply for compensation called statutory damages.

If you were illegally evicted after 28 October 2022, the tribunal can order your landlord to pay you between 3 months' and 36 months' rent.

Getting legal advice about compensation

Applying for illegal eviction compensation is complicated.

Get legal advice if you want to apply to the tribunal. A solicitor can help you and work out how much to ask for.

Find a solicitor on the Law Society of Scotland

Solicitors charge for their work. You may be able to get free legal advice or legal aid to help with costs.

Applying to the tribunal for statutory damages

It’s free to apply to the tribunal.

To apply if you have a private residential tenancy, download Form F and the Notes on Completing Form F on the tribunal website. In section 7a, write 'rule 111'.

If you have an assured tenancy or a short assured tenancy, download Form G and the Notes on Completing Form G from the tribunal's website. In section 7a, write 'rule 69'.

Evidence you can provide:

  • copies of police reports about the illegal eviction

  • statements from neighbours or other witnesses

  • copies of emails or texts you got from your landlord when they were forcing you out

  • evidence of having to replace belongings that they threw away

  • evidence showing you had to pay for emergency accommodation, such as a hotel or B&B

If you have access needs, download the inclusive provision questionnaire to tell the tribunal about it. For example, if you need an induction loop or an interpreter.

You can send your form and evidence by email or post.

Email: HPCAdmin@scotcourtstribunals.gov.uk

Post: Glasgow Tribunals Centre, 20 York Street, Glasgow, G2 8GT

Check our guidance on what happens after you apply to the tribunal.

Last updated: 3 October 2023

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England