With all the talk of “revenge evictions” in the media, is this attention leading to a new type of tenant – Eviction Blockers?
These are “legal savvy” tenants using eviction blocking tactics as a smokescreen for other issues when wanting to remain in a rental property, often rent free?
Vexatious claims about property defects, when tenants are struggling to pay rent, is a reality for landlords right now. This could really snowball if the proposed legislation delaying the section 21 eviction process goes through, claim experienced landlords.
The proposed new legislation under Sarah Teather’s Private Member’s Bill is the Tenancies (Reform) Bill 2014-15. The Bill, which ran out of time in its second reading on the 28th of November, is due to be considered again on the 23rd of January 2015.
This Bill, in its present form, proposes blocking the use of the section 21 no blame eviction process for any landlord who has received a repair complaint.
Under the Bill tenants will be able to successfully defend eviction proceedings when (1) The local authority has received a complaint but not yet decided to act, (2) has decided to inspect but has not yet carried it out, (3) has conducted an inspection but has not decided to serve an enforcement notice, and (4) has decided to serve a relevant enforcement notice.
In other words, the decision as to when an eviction can be started and successfully completed will be down entirely to the actions of the local authority, when a repair complaint has been made.
LandlordZONE® has reported receiving a spate of repair related enquiries from landlords since all the media attention started about revenge or retaliatory evictions.
Tom Entwistle a director of the company said:
“Since all this began we’ve had several landlords enquiring to us about how to deal with this problem. Typical is a landlord who contacted us because his long standing tenant had complained to the council 6 weeks ago that his boiler was not working.
“The landlord had instructed a plumber to go round right away, but 6 weeks later and after three visits by the plumber, he has still not got access to the property – the tenant just refuses entry.
“Both the landlord and the local authority are at a dead-end as to how to remedy this, and cannot believe that if the boiler really is defective, the tenant would do this. Landlords or their tradespeople cannot legally enter a rental property where the tenant refuses access.
“The plumber is refusing to make another visit without a call out fee, having already wasted several hours of his time.”
“This is just one example. We’ve got several more”, said Tom Entwistle.
He went on, “my concern is that if this legislation does eventually go through, and it is not “balanced” in the way that protects landlords as well as tenants, then this issue is going to be a growing problem for landlords – it could lead to tenants effectively blackmailing landlords.
“At the moment, my view is that this Bill is very badly drafted. As others have suggested, I would have thought that there are far more effective ways of dealing with these so called “revenge evictions” than with another set of complex legislation, which will inevitably lead to extensive case law.”
Tactics used by a new breed of tenant to thwart a landlord's attempts to evict – Eviction Blockers.http://t.co/K8PETCuCT9
— LandlordZONE (@LandlordZONE) December 3, 2014