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“My landlord has given me notice, so I have to leave when they tell me to.”
WRONG. Not many tenants know that it is actually a criminal offense for your landlord to evict you without a court order, and a court order is not the same thing as giving notice. Legally, you can stay in your home right up until court officials come to your house, which could be up to 6 months AFTER the end of your notice period.
If your landlord tries to make you move out sooner by using intimidation or threats, this is a criminal offense and you should tell the police (but be prepared for ignorance; some police mistakenly believe it is a civil, rather than criminal, matter!).
You are legally allowed to change the locks to protect yourself from harassment, as long as you keep the original lock and put it back on when you leave. You should also tell the Tenancy Relations Officer at your council (they have different titles at different councils).
“I haven’t got a written contract, so I’ve got no rights.”
WRONG. As long as you have proof that you’ve paid rent regularly (for example, from your bank statement) you have all the rights you can expect from an assured shorthold tenancy (AST – the most common kind of tenancy).
“I can’t complain about my landlord because if I do, they will evict me.”
Sadly, it’s true that ‘retaliatory evictions’ are common in areas of high demand like London. But in some other countries, tenants are protected against them – either by longer minimum tenancies, as in Europe, or by specific legal protection against retaliation, as in some US cities. So it doesn’t have to be this way. If more people stood up to their landlords, and sought the help that their local council is there to give, landlords would be less likely to retaliate when people make valid complaints.