Government ministers have said they will support Sarah Teather’s private member’s bill on “revenge evictions” in principle, but landlords say it will make life difficult for good landlords and discourage investment in rental property.
The government has vowed to work to outlaw so-called ‘revenge evictions’ that destroy a tenant’s right to expect to rent a safe and secure home.
[blockquote align=’right’]”…justifying a legitimate claim for eviction, with the expert reports and legal representation required, will without doubt become prohibitively expensive and long drawn out.”[/blockquote]
Ministers gave their backing in principle last Thursday to Sarah Tenther’s Private Member’s Bill to:
“stop the small minority of rogue landlords who, rather than meet their legal duty to keep their properties at a reasonable standard and remove health and safety hazards, instead evict tenants simply for asking for essential repairs to be made – on the condition that the Bill only targets bad landlords and cannot be used by tenants to frustrate legitimate evictions.”
Communities Minister Stephen Williams said at the RESI conference in Newport last week that Sarah Teather’s Bill would help root out a minority of spiteful landlords and ensure that hard-working tenants are not afraid to ask for better standards in their homes.
The Bill would extend the existing restrictions on a landlord’s power to evict, where they don’t protect a deposit or have a licence that they are required to hold, to situations where a health and safety hazard has been identified by environmental health officers.
The Government has stated that: “Whilst the vast majority of landlords offer a good quality professional service a few rogues shirk their legal responsibilities and use the threat of eviction to silence tenants from rightly speaking out against sub-standard and dangerous accommodation.”
However, landlord groups including the Residential Landlords’ Association (RLA) have said that limiting landlords’ rights to repossess their properties in this way could lead to landlords losing confidence in the market at a time when buy-to-let investment is the only area of growth in providing rented accommodation.
RLA chairman Alan Ward has expressed concern that Communities Minister Stephen Williams, by supporting this bill, will discourage landlords from investing when statistics are showing that only 9% of tenancies are ended by landlords, and the majority of these are for non-payment of rent or anti-social behaviour.
Tom Entwistle, Editor of LandlordZONE® commented:
“Introducing another eviction test, namely to situations where a health and safety hazard has been identified by environmental health officers, may seem innocuous, and restricted to a small minority of situations, but in my view it will drag good landlords into contentious and expensive litigation.
“The courts are already overloaded to such an extent that the eviction process takes months to conclude – 6 to 9 months from start to the tenant leaving is not uncommon.
“With contentious matters such as damp and condensation, one of the most common causes of complaint, where the cause is often down to the actions of the tenant as much as the property, justifying a legitimate claim for eviction, with the expert reports and legal representation required, will without doubt become prohibitively expensive and long drawn out.”
— LandlordZONE (@LandlordZONE) September 15, 2014