There has been a 50% rise in private tenants appealing for help with illegal evictions, Citizens Advice has reported.
It said that 2,087 people asked for help after being threatened with illegal eviction in the year to March 2016, up 47% on the previous year.
Citizens Advice said in many cases, landlords had simply shut tenants out by changing the locks and in some cases seizing their possessions.
Some tenants were threatened with eviction after missing a single rent payment.
A new database of landlords who have broken the law will be available to councils in England from October next year, and has been welcomed by Citizens Advice.
The charity is calling for the database to be made available to tenants so they can avoid bad landlords. Currently, the database – which will also include the names of bad letting agents – will be available only to local and central government.
The Renters’ Rights Bill, which passed Second Reading in the House of Lords on June 10, would give people in England the right to see if their landlord is on the database.
Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “Landlords who break the law shouldn’t be able to hide.
“It’s a crime to throw people out of their homes without a court order, but more and more people are coming to Citizens Advice with this problem.
“The new database is a positive step which will help councils in England keep track of landlords who’ve broken the law. But unless tenants can check who’s on it, it will be continue to be hard for them to know which landlords to avoid. It’s crucial tenants are given access to this list.”