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.