The Tenancies Reform Bill presented to Parliament Friday by Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather and aimed at stopping “revenge” or retaliatory evictions, has failed to secure enough votes to pass in Parliament, much to the relief of the landlord associations, Landlord Action and other letting industry organisations.
Sarah Teather MP’s Private Members’ Bill, sought to ban so-called retaliatory evictions by limiting a landlords’ use of section 21 notices (Housing Act 1988), failed to win enough support in the House of Commons today.
The Bill ran out of time after only 60 MPs voted on a procedural motion to put the Bill to a vote.
100 MPs are required for such a motion to succeed. It will now drop to the bottom of the order for Private Members’ Bills and effectively has no chance of proceeding.
Commenting on the Bill’s failure RLA chairman, Alan Ward said:
“The RLA do not condone revenge evictions and want to see effective action to drive criminal landlords out of the private rented sector. However, this Bill was badly drafted and missed its target. It would have punished good landlords and allowed bad tenants, savvy with their rights, to play the system.
“There is now an opportunity for the campaign groups to work with landlord representatives and local authorities to come up with a workable solution to tackle the small minority who practice retaliatory eviction.
“Enforcement of current regulations is key. The RLA has already discussed ways in which councils can identify those landlords who operate under the radar with ministers, MPs and local government representatives.
“We can work together to ensure councils have the tools they need to tackle bad landlords and retaliatory eviction without undermining good landlords and landlord-tenants relations.”
The Residential Landlords Association represents almost 20,000 private sector residential landlords in England and Wales.
Following the result, Founder of Landlord Action, Paul Shamplina, who gave evidence at the end of October to the All Party Parliamentary Group, said:
“This is great news for landlords. Whilst I fully agree that tenants need to be protected from the small minority of rogue landlords, there simply wasn’t enough evidence to support the need for more legislation, which would have impacted a large number of good, reliable landlords.”
“In the 24 years I have been dealing with problem tenants, I have only ever heard of the words “retaliation/revenge eviction” in the last 18 months.
“Section 21 gives a landlord an automatic right of possession without having to give any grounds (reason) once the fixed term has expired. Shelter’s figures that 213,000 tenants have been served Section 21 notices as revenge evictions must be guess work because without surveying every landlord, it is hard to understand how they have reached this figure.
A recent survey of landlords that had instructed Landlord Action to serve Section 21 notices revealed that only 2% had served a section 21 because the tenant had asked for repairs.
28% served notice because there were rent arrears and 15% needed the property back so they could sell, 13% needed to move back into the property, 11% wanted to re-let to another tenant to obtain more rent and 8% said the tenant wanted to be evicted so they could be re-housed by the Council.
Paul Shamplina continues:
“Passing this Bill would have created a loophole for tenants to remain in properties for longer, lead to further rental arrears problems, stretched the resources of local authorities even further and lead to longer delays at court.
“Yes, we want to make sure tenants live in a safe and pleasant environment, but preventing the proper use of Section 21 is not the way to do this and would simply tarnish good landlords with a bad name.”
Paul Shamplina has acknowledged the hard work put into opposing the Bill as it stood.
Landlord Action is a UK based organisation helping landlords, letting agents and other property professionals. As a champion for landlords, it has campaigned extensively and was instrumental in getting the law changed to make squatting a criminal offence.
It was founded in 1999 as the first ever fixed-fee tenant eviction specialist, they revolutionised this area of legal practice. They have now acted in more than 20,000 problem tenant cases and are considered the authority in this field.
Landlord Action run a free advice line to help landlords and property professionals understand their rights: 0333 240 9767 www.LandlordAction.co.uk