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Retaliatory Eviction

What is retaliatory eviction?

Retaliatory eviction is where a tenant makes a legitimate complaint to their landlord about the condition of their property and, in response, instead of making the repair; their landlord serves them with an eviction notice. Retaliatory eviction is an unacceptable practice and no tenant should fear becoming homeless because they have asked for a necessary repair

What tenancies do these new rules apply to?

The rules set out in the Deregulation Act 2015, apply to all new assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs) that start on or after 1 October 2015. In practice, this means that they will apply to almost all tenancies entered into with a private landlord on or after this date.

What is changing on 1 October 2015?

On 1 October 2015 a number of provisions in the Deregulation Act 2015 came into force. This means that it is now a legal requirement to follow them. These provisions are designed to protect tenants against unfair eviction.

Where a tenant makes a genuine complaint about the condition of their property that has not been addressed by their landlord, their complaint has been verified by a local authority inspection, and the local authority has served either an improvement notice or a notice of emergency remedial action, a landlord cannot evict that tenant for 6 months using the section 21 eviction procedure.

Section 21 notices are invalid in circumstances where:

  1. the tenant has made a complaint about conditions at the property (in writing if possible) and the landlord has failed to respond within 14 days with a reasonable plan to address the problem
  2. the local authority has served a relevant notice under the Housing Act 2004 (improvement notice relating to category 1 or category 2 hazards or a notice requiring emergency remedial action)
  3. in cases when the section 21 notice was given after the tenant complained to the local authority, it was given before the service of the relevant notice under the Housing Act 2004
  4. in these circumstances no section 21 notice can be served within six months of the date of service of the Housing Act 2004 enforcement notice

What kinds of repairs are covered by this legislation?

These new rules allow tenants greater security than before. They allow tenants to make reasonable complaints about the property they are living in to their landlord without fear that they will be evicted as a result.

The kind of complaints to which these rules apply concern a serious issue that might cause a potential risk of harm to the health or safety of the tenant, or a family member.

Examples of repairs that are covered by these rules would include a leak in the property or a problem with the heating, especially in colder weather. The sort of repair that would not be covered by these rules is a dripping tap, or changing a lightbulb.

The vast majority of landlords will address these sorts of serious issues quickly. This legislation is targeted at those who not only fail to make these repairs, but then attempt to evict the tenant in response to their complaint.

Exceptions

  • the conditions giving rise to the section 21 notice are due to a breach by the tenant of their obligation to use the premises in a tenant like manner.
  • the Property is genuinely on the market for sale
  • the property is subject to a mortgage and the lender requires possession for sale
  • the Landlord is a private registered provider of social housing

Read more about making a complaint to your landlord about disrepair.

Guidance Note from the DCLG about Retaliatory Notices :