Alice rents a property from Bob, under a lease which prohibits her from subletting sharing or reassigning it to any third parties without prior express written permission, permission which shall not be unreasonably withheld.

Alice then sublets to Charlotte without checking her lease's anti subletting provisions and thus without complying with the requirement to seek prior approval from the landlord, and the landlord is not notified of Charlotte's subtenancy or even of her existence.

It seems that if Bob the landlord would like to seek remedy for this breach in repossession of the property (effectively from Charlotte) then their only proper recourse would have to be through the s8 process.

But suppose that Bob manages and owns 30 different properties each with their effective tenants, and doesn't remember what they all look like. Not being a scrupulous landlord, he occasionally evicts them illegally and capricciously and in any event often doesn't follow the correct process even when the tenants are not in breach of their leases.

He lives in another city and attends his properties twice a year. When he comes to town next he decides that he would like Alice out and takes steps that do not follow the legal process like telling her she must leave and changing the locks on her to effectively evict her from the property.

Except that in fact, unbeknownst to Bob, the tenant whom he is illegally evicting is Charlotte in the first place, even though he thinks she is Alice as he has been recorded calling her numerous times by the name Alice and refers to her as if she were Alice in later written communications about the encounter with Alice herself.

In equality act claims one may commit unlawful discrimination if treating someone more badly due to perceiving them to possess a protected characteristic even if they do not possess that.

Even though Charlotte would likely not enjoy protection from eviction, Bob thought that she was someone who did. Has Bob committed illegal eviction?

If Alice claims civil damages such as in county court then I imagine that Bob might have a defence that Charlotte did not enjoy protection from eviction as some types of damages are to compensate the claimant for the unlawful harm that they suffered.

But what if Alice applies for a Housing and Planning 2016 rent repayment order, which process is in place to punish bad landlords rather than recompense the tenant for damages which they've suffered? It is much harder in this context to imagine Bob using as a defence that while he had presently thought he was illegally evicting a rightful tenant he was in fact as he had later learned actually been evicting a trespasser or improper subtenant.

how does the law view Bob's actions in these contexts?

  • Are Alice and Charlotte both living in the property or does Alice live somewhere else?
    – Lag
    Commented Aug 15, 2022 at 7:30
  • "In equality act claims one may commit unlawful discrimination if treating someone more badly due to perceiving them to possess a protected characteristic even if they do not possess that." - what protected characteristic is relevant here?
    – Lag
    Commented Aug 15, 2022 at 7:30
  • Alice may be traveling, but I would love to know the answer in each scenario.
    – Timothy
    Commented Aug 15, 2022 at 9:20
  • No protected characteristic is relevant here, other than the perceived characteristic of possessing the identity of someone who as a listed tenant enjoys protection from eviction under PfEA1977 and probably also other doctrines.
    – Timothy
    Commented Aug 15, 2022 at 9:21
  • In any event while Alice may not be present on the day that Bob arrives, her belongings are certainly all still in the property.
    – Timothy
    Commented Aug 15, 2022 at 9:24


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