An illegal eviction occurs where a landlord, through force, intimidation or any other means (such as cutting off utilities or changing locks), denies you access to the home you are renting or removes your belongings from the dwelling regardless of whether or not a valid notice of termination has been served.
The Residential Tenancies Act 2004 (as amended) outlines very precisely the conditions under which a tenancy may be terminated by a landlord and the steps and procedures that must be followed. A landlord can never take the law into his/her own hands.
Even if you are in rent arrears, your landlord cannot seize your belongings in order to force payment. There is a clear legal process that your landlord/agent must follow which includes giving you a written warning of the arrears and sending a copy to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB). The RTB will then inform you of any advice available from Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS). If after 28 days the rent arrears have not been paid, the landlord can seek to end your tenancy by issuing a minimum of 28 days’ written notice of termination and, again, sending a copy to the RTB. If you have been impacted by COVID-19 and having difficulty paying the rent you may be able to avail of additional protection until January 2021. Please click here for more on this.
If you are threatened with an illegal eviction contact Threshold immediately.
What to do
- If your landlord threatens or attempts to remove you from your property, you should contact your local Threshold office immediately. Remember, a landlord may not take the law into his/her own hands.
- Contact the Gardaí immediately if someone is using force to remove you or your belongings from your home
- Contact the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) and inform them of the fact that you are being illegal evicted.
- Inform your landlord that you have been in contact with the RTB, Threshold and the Gardaí
- Take a sound or video recording of the illegal eviction if you can do so without putting yourself at risk. You should also take photographs.
- In order to prepare for a possible RTB hearing you should keep a log of events, record vehicle number plates, incoming phone numbers, Garda names and numbers etc.
- Make a list of any items you have been denied access to or that have been damaged or lost during the illegal eviction and keep any receipts for replacements
- Keep a record of any other expenses incurred as a direct result of the eviction such as B&B or hotel costs.