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The Deregulation Bill, due to be debated in the House of Lords on 11th February, has had amendments added to it to prevent ‘revenge evictions’ in the private rented sector.
The measures will prevent a landlord from being able to evict a tenant after a health and safety hazard has been identified by environmental health officers, even with a Section 21.
Communities’ minister, Stephen Williams, has stated that the move will only target bad landlords, and cannot be used by tenants to frustrate legitimate evictions.
He said: “We’re determined to create a bigger, better private rented sector – a key part of that is to tackle the minority of rogue landlords that blight the lives of their tenants.
“That’s why I’m proposing changes to the law that would outlaw retaliatory evictions, so tenants don’t face the prospect of losing their home simply for asking that repairs be made.”
The government has given local authorities £6.7 million to tackle rogue landlords. This money has funded the inspection of 30,000 properties by 30 councils with more than 3,000 landlords facing further action and prosecution.
Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather, who campaigned for the case against revenge evictions in the House of Commons, said: “Too many people are currently forced to put up with dangerous or unsanitary conditions because they fear eviction. Understandably, they don’t want to leave their community or take their kids out of the local school – or face the costs of moving to another home.”
She added: “I pay tribute to Stephen Williams who has worked tirelessly to ensure that tenants can report problems with their properties without fear of being evicted from their home.”
The RLA has opposed the legislation from the outset, arguing that it could become a charter for anti-social and rent dodging tenants and would prevent landlords from being able to swiftly remove tenants that are failing to pay rent or being aggressive or anti-social.
Alan Ward, RLA chairman, said: “We have always been vehemently opposed to any landlord who commits a retaliatory eviction. But we believe this latest proposal is a sledgehammer to crack a nut, with very little evidence to suggest that there is a widespread problem.
“Our survey of landlords last year underlined the fact that landlords are very reluctant to evict their tenants and when they do it’s usually for significant rent arrears or anti-social behaviour.
“This legislation would bring more administrative burdens for landlords, and would hamper their efforts to manage their homes responsibly. It could threaten the growth of a sector which has become increasingly vital to meeting our country’s housing needs.”
The RLA suggests that building on existing rights which already protect tenants would better serve both landlords and tenants.
“We don’t need more laws in place when there is already strong protection for tenants. But what we do need is better information for tenants so they know what to do if they have a problem,” said Mr Ward.
“We are therefore pleased to see that the government’s amendment provides for this and we look forward to working with Ministers and others to improve tenant understanding of their rights and responsibilities.”
Let us know your thoughts below. Would the amendments to the Deregulation Bill improve the PRS or is it just more red tape?
We have been following the progress of the Tenancies (Reform) Bill and the amendments to the deregulation bill over the past few months. Read more below;
Is the Tenancies (Reform) Bill back from the dead? Are we going to lose Section 21 after all?: here
Tenancies (Reform) Bill defeated: here
Tenancies (Reform) Bill 2014-2015 has now been published: here
A chance to have your say on revenge evictions and how the Tenancies (Reform) Bill will impact the letting industry: here
Had the pro-tenant/anti-landlord legislation promised a quicker way for landlords to evict problem tenants, the RLA might have been more welcoming. As per usual it is proposed by MPs who have little or no experience of the world outside Westminster or the M25!
I have said it before and I will say it again, “No GOOD landlord gives notice to a GOOD tenant without GOOD reason”.
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