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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Bill tackles surge of revenge evictions

October 06 2014
Sarah Teather’s Tenancy Reform Bill will protect  tenants who complain about poor conditions

The Government has announced its support for Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather’s Tenancy Reform Bill to restrict revenge evictions against tenants who complain about poor conditions.

The announcement comes after figures show there was a 26 per cent rise in landlords making claims for repossession between 2010 and 2013. The trend continued upward in the first half of 2014 to 85,717, according to the Ministry of Justice.

Housing charity Shelter welcomed the news, claiming that 600 households in England are at risk of losing their homes every day, some as a result of so-called ‘revenge evictions’.

A Shelter spokesperson said: “In just the past year, more than 200,000 renters have been victims of revenge evictions – kicked out by their landlord just for complaining about unacceptable living conditions. Worse still, one in 12 renters is too scared to complain, in case it leads to them losing their home. With the new law, renters can leave all this behind.”

The Tenancy Reform Bill will ban landlords from evicting tenants by serving a no-fault ‘Section 21’ notice. Under these notices, landlords can give tenants two months’ notice to leave without giving any reason.

The Bill could ban landlords from doing this within six months of a local authority improvement or hazard awareness notice. It could also prevent landlords from evicting tenants in response to a legitimate, written complaint about the condition of the property which the local authority considers legitimate.

Lib Dem Department for Communities and Local Government Minister Stephen Williams said: “Our private rental sector is an asset, providing homes for nine million people across the country. So I’m determined to root out the minority of rogue landlords that give it a bad name.”

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis has published a new model tenancy agreement to give tenants the power to agree longer deals with landlords, and a new code of practice to clarify the legal requirements of landlords and letting agents to their tenants. There is also a new requirement for letting agents to belong to an approved redress schemes by the October 2014 deadline.

In response to the crisis, Newham introduced a private landlord licensing scheme which came into effect in January 2013.

Other councils such as Croydon, Barking and Dagenham, Southwark and Tower Hamlets have followed suit or have begun a public consultation to fix this problem.