MP launches Bill to ban retaliatory evictions

A Liberal Democrat MP, Sarah Teather, has launched a private member’s Bill seeking to outlaw so-called retaliatory evictions.

Teather, who was formerly her party’s housing spokesperson and is currently MP for Brent Central although she has announced her intention to stand down at next year’s general election, introduced the Bill in the Commons yesterday.

It aims to make it illegal to evict a tenant within six months of a request for a repair.

A poll commissioned by Shelter and British Gas found that 2% of tenants said they had been evicted because they asked for repairs. Shelter said that this figure, when scaled up across England, equated to more than 213,000 tenants who had been unfairly evicted.

Teather’s Bill is supported by Tim Farron, who is the Lib Dems president and who is currently drafting the party’s official housing policy.

Farron said: “Creating fairer rules around evictions will break the silence that traps too many renters from getting the home improvements they need, making the system work better for both landlords and tenants.”

In March, Farron also backed another private member’s Bill, introduced by Lib Dem’s Julian Huppert, aiming to ban “exorbitant” letting agent fees charged for drawing up and renewing contracts.

He said then: “I am very concerned that some tenants are being charged excessive amounts for the standard process of letting a flat, or for the repair or replacement of fixtures and fittings.

“There is no overarching regulation of the private housing sector and I am worried that tenants are at the mercy of unscrupulous agencies which see tenancies as a way of making extra money over and above the standard charges.”

Private members’ Bills rarely make it on to the statute books.

 

 

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11 Comments

  1. nosharkbait

    Nice, so if a tenant does not want to leave, then they can just cause damage that needs a repair and stay another 6 months! Do law makers live in the real world? Not all people treat property with respect. The guidelines between fair wear and tear is very grey when it comes to tenants- e.g: how to treat a washing machine, how to clean an oven or extractor fan so it last for more than 1 year.

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  2. Eric Walker

    Do these retaliatory evictions really exist? The nearest I have come is when a Landlord has bent over backwards to resolve issues, often without tenant's co-operation whereby they insist they can't take time off, refuse access with keys and demanding evening or weekend visits. Finally the Landlord says 'If they aren't happy, tell them to find somewhere else.' Agents certainly do not benefit from evictions – which, by the way, is a very strong emotive term. Ending a tenancy in accordance with 1988 Housing Act under the terms of a mutually agreed AST is somewhat different from what is implied by 'eviction.'

    Further, in a recent survey, 60% of Landlords biggest fear is void periods with many recording that they would turn down a higher rent from a replacement tenant than risk a void period. This doesn't fit with evicting to avoid a tax deductible maintenance expense – unless the property is under the radar or not let through a professional agent, which in is fact the real issue.

    In fact, all issues now used to win political points stem from lack of regulation, enforcement & policing. This is why we need joined up thinking, not bills on separate elements of an ongoing overall problem.

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  3. ray comer

    Bang on the nail as normal Eric.

    These knee jerk reactions and soundbites from politicians anxious to make a name for themselves is getting boring now. My old form teacher always used to tell us engage brain before engaging mouth; some of our politicians could do with learning that

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  4. agentx

    What a joke, another do gooder MP on the gravy train interfering with an industry she clearly has no idea about. What is classed as a repair? How is that information recorded or perhaps not recorded as the case may be?? If this type of unworkable nonsense was forced upon the industry certain type of tenancies will only be given short term fixed AST's. No periodic etc. Either way they will be leaving if I want them to. 🙂

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    1. ray comer

      I think you mean if your landlord client wants them to, don't you?

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      1. Elbee

        Or when the bailiffs arrive?

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  5. Robert May

    Small observation Ms Teather such legislation is a squatters charter.

    A tenant only has to come up with a single fictious repair every 6 months to make it illegal for a landlord to ever regain possesion of their property.

    Is there an election coming up?

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    1. ray comer

      why Robert, you surely wouldn't be suggesting our fine politicians are cynical would you?

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      1. Robert May

        Not at all they are simply ignorant of our industry and genuinley think their brilliant, nicely chilled Chablis inspired, ideas have merit.

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  6. Robin

    I can't really add much to all the above comments which identify most of the flaws in this proposal. I am left speechless sometimes that landlords and/or agents are ALWAYS perceived to be the villains in the rented property sector. Because a tiny minority of agents and landlords take advantage of a ludicrously under-regulated industry the rest are all considered to be cowboys. NO account is taken of the appalling behaviour of some tenants who have no regard for the property they are renting and who will not think twice about depriving their landlord of all the rental income over ridiculous and trivial issues. When does a repair become an improvement? When does a tenant have the right to insist that the landlord replaces all the windows or lose the right to recover possession? The people suggesting these policies have absolutely no idea what a Pandoras box they are opening.

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  7. Elbee

    In nearly 20 years I have issued less than five S21s and three of those were where the owner was selling and the tenants had much more notice than the two months legally required. The other two were "recent". One (in my own property) because the management company raised complaints about tenant and guests smoking in communal areas and not always tobacco! The other is ongoing and could have been a Section 8 for arrears.

    No GOOD landlord gives notice to a GOOD tenant without a GOOD reason.

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