South London Renters Statement on new protections against Retaliatory Evictions

The Deregulation Bill was agreed by Parliament this week and now awaits Royal Assent to become law. It contains a provision which prohibits ‘retaliatory evictions’ evictions of tenants who have complained to their landlords about the condition of their home – by limiting the use of Section 21 notices. This protection applies where:

a) tenants have made a complaint in writing to their landlord
b) the landlord has failed to adequately respond
c) the tenant has then complained to their local authority
d) the local authority has instructed the landlord to make improvements

This is a similar to Sarah Teather’s unsuccessful Private Member’s Bill last November, which we wrote about at the time.

While we welcome new legal protections for tenants, and hope that this will give renters more confidence in making complaints about the conditions of their homes, we maintain the reservations we have previously expressed. We know from experience that retaliatory evictions can happen in a vast range of circumstances besides situations in which a tenant has made a written complaint and that while Section 21 continues to give landlords a blanket power to evict tenants with no need for justification it will be virtually impossible to legislate against them. While this bill is certainly a step in the right direction, it highlights the need for greater statutory protections for private renters.

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