Tenants organisations have been talking about retaliatory eviction for a long time – the practice carried out by some landlords of evicting their tenants when they ask for expensive (or indeed any) repair work to be done.
Last year Sarah Teather tried to get a private members bill passed, but although it was ‘filibustered out’ the main items were then included in the government’s Deregulation Act (section 33).
So what does it say?
Basically – if a tenant makes a complaint, a landlord must give an adequate response within 14 days. An adequate response is where the landlord states what he is going to do to resolve the problem and his time limit for dealing with it.
If the tenant THEN goes to the local authority and makes a complaint AND they serve a notice, the landlord cannot serve a section 21 notice for 6 months.
Or if the local authority serve the notice anyway, no valid section 21 notice can then be served for 6 months. But it’s all right (for the landlord) if the s21 notice was served before the complaints or (if there were no complaints) before the local authority notice was served on the landlord.
Some interesting points:
It is only the service of the local authority notice which triggers the 6 month prohibition for section 21 notices.
So, unless the Court of Appeal is able to argue otherwise in due course, the mere fact of the landlord failing to give an ‘adequate response’ will not help the tenant. The landlords notice will still be valid.
The whole anti-retaliatory eviction structure therefore, depends on the local authority notice – nothing else. This must be one of the following
(a) a notice served under section 11 of the Housing Act 2004 (improvement notices relating to category 1 hazards),
(b) a notice served under section 12 of that Act (improvement notices relating to category 2 hazards), or
(c) a notice served under section 40(7) of that Act (emergency remedial action);
As local authorities and their environmental health officers are very pushed for time (local authorities having had to cut their staff to the bone due to savage cuts to their budget) they are unlikely to be willing to support ‘try-ons’ by nightmare tenants wanting to stay on when their landlords are desperate to get them out.
This isn’t to say that this will never happen – just that it is very unlikely. Very.
This should be taken very seriously & every effort should be made to keep on top of maintenance within a property.
If Allen Residential are acting as your managing agent then we can do this for you as part of our service.
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