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Retaliatory or 'Revenge' Evictions are about to get a lot harder

Revenge EvictionAlthough the vast majority of private tenants have a good relationship with their landlord and feel they are treated well, there are a minority of so-called ‘rogue landlords’ who grab all the headlines and can give the rest of us a bad name!

One example of poor landlord practice which has now been outlawed is so-called retaliatory or ‘revenge’ eviction. This is when a tenant reports a fault or maintenance issue to the landlord and instead of arranging necessary repairs or work, the landlord responds by evicting the tenant.

But hopefully such horror stories will now become a thing of the past. With new legislation now in place, it will be harder to serve notice on tenants if they have recently reported a maintenance issue.

The so-called ‘Retaliatory Eviction’ legislation was introduced to prevent situations where a tenant reports a maintenance issue to the landlord or agent, and the landlord responds with an eviction notice.

As of October 2015, landlords are no longer allowed to serve a Section 21 notice if:

  • The tenant has made a written complaint regarding a repair needed or other maintenance issues prior to the Section 21 being served, and;
  • The landlord or their agent has not provided an adequate response within 14 days, and;
  • The tenant has then reported the matter to the relevant local authority, who have subsequently issued an Improvement Order or undertaken emergency remedial action themselves, using their statutory powers to do so.

However, many tenants are still unaware of these extra protections that have just come in, or don’t realise the formal process they must follow to protect themselves from a revenge eviction. For example, if they only inform their landlord of the issue verbally, or if they don’t report the fault to the local authority (should the landlord fail to respond), then the landlord can still legally serve a Section 21 notice and evict them.

At the Better Letter, we have no reason to keep our tenants from knowing what their rights are – we believe in good practice even when it’s not enforced by law!

Our recently published guide to the New Section 21 Rules for Landlords covers the retaliatory eviction legislation and other new legal requirements that landlords must meet, starting from this month.

So whether you are a tenant or a landlord, check out our guide and make sure you understand your rights and responsibilities.

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