Revenge Evictions: Is the situation improving?

According to data obtained by the housing campaign group Generation Rent, just one in twenty private tenants who make formal complaints to the council against their landlords about poor living conditions get protection from a revenge eviction.

What are revenge evictions?

Revenge evictions, or retaliatory evictions, are when landlords try to evict a tenant because of a complaint they have raised against them.

Prior to regulation in this area revenge evictions were  a common issue for many private tenants. The Assured Shorthold Tenancies Act in the 1980s made it possible for landlords to kick tenants out and re-claim their property, even if they were not causing problems.

Even though ‘revenge evictions’ were made illegal in 2015;, the problem still continues today.

What is a Section 21 notice?

A section 21 notice is the notice your landlord would give you when he wants to evict you.

Under Section 21 Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, landlords can regain possession using a specific process, giving their tenants a two months’ notice. The notice cannot be served in the first four months of your tenancy.

Following strong advocacy by various renter’s unions, most crucially the End Unfair Evictions coalition, the government has been convinced to scrap this legislation.

What is the problem?

According to Citizens Advice, private renters who formally complain about issues regarding their property have a 46 percent chance of being issued an eviction notice within 6 months.

In their report ‘Touch and Go’, Citizens Advice found that tenants who had received a section 21 notice were:

  • twice as likely to have complained to their landlord
  • five times more likely to have complained directly to their local authority
  • eight times more likely to have complained to their redress scheme.

With the private rented sector being the second most common tenure in England, the issue of revenge evictions is fairly substantial.

What will happen in the future?

There have already been various changes for landlords in 2019.

In what was heralded as a victory for many private tenants, the government said it would scrap Section 21 notices.

The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, James Brokenshire issued a press release saying:

“By abolishing these kinds of evictions, every single person living in the private rented sector will be empowered to make the right housing choice for themselves – not have it made for them… This will bring an end to private landlords uprooting tenants from their homes with as little as eight weeks’ notice after the fixed-term contract has come to an end.”

The National Landlords Association (NLA) have publicly opposed the abolition of Section 21. They’ve launched a postcard campaign to tell the Prime Minister about the negative impacts of scrapping Section 21.

Until 11:45pm on 12 October 2019 you can have your say in the Government consultation on the topic.

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