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London police get lessons in protecting tenants' rights

The Met Police has issued new guidance for frontline officers around illegal evictions, starting with the presumption against eviction, and for the tenant to remain in their home.

Its updated approach also states that if it is out of hours, and there isn’t a court-appointed bailiff present, then it is considered illegal.

The Greater London Authority has worked with Safer Renting and Generation Rent to help make the changes. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan says that for too long, rogue landlords have been able to take advantage of the fact that there were few protections in place to safeguard London’s renters from illegal evictions.

Robust guidelines

“These new, robust guidelines will ensure that London renters not only have a much clearer sense of their rights, but that frontline police officers are far better equipped to respond to incidences of tenants being harassed, threatened or illegally forced out of their homes by their landlords,” adds Khan.

paul shapmplina

Police aren’t usually called to the vast majority of evictions, unless there’s a fear of breach of the peace or an incident, according to Landlord Action’s Paul Shamplina. Tenants have typically already left or will wait for the court warrant document in order to get rehoused.

Squatting laws

However, he tells LandlordZONE that educating the police makes sense. “I’ve taken calls from police officers asking me for advice because there’s an issue of landlords carrying out unlawful evictions.” However, he notes that forces still don’t fully understand the laws around squatting - despite a law change back in 2012.

Shamplina adds: “There are 32 London boroughs – let’s hope that they are all educated to the same level.”


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