Figures on Revenge Evictions are “bewildering” according to group of MPs and Peers and reported by the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Private Rented Sector.
More should be done to establish the scale of ‘revenge evictions’ before legislation is resurrected which could put private landlords off providing more homes, according to a group of MPs.
Proposals to ban retaliatory evictions – a practice which sees tenants who complain about the state of their property forced to leave their home – failed to pass through the Commons in November. But the ban is now to be considered once more as an amendment to the Deregulation Bill being debated in the Lords.
Now a new report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Private Rented Sector says without more evidence it’s still not clear whether legislation is “necessarily the best tool” to tackle the problem.
“Too often on private rented housing it has become very easy to call for greater regulations here or there without a proper assessment of what is and isn’t working,” the report says.
The group says it heard a “bewildering” variety of different figures during its inquiry into the issue.
Housing charity Shelter has claimed as many as 213,000 tenants faced eviction last year after asking their private landlord for repairs – but others say those figures significantly over-estimate the problem.
“Obtaining objective data that hasn’t been collected by a particular group with a vested interest was impossible,” the report says.
The all-party group says any measures will need to be kept under continued review ‘to ensure that landlords are not put off from investing in the new homes to rent the country needs’.
APPG chair Oliver Colvile MP said: “Evidence is crucial to making good policy – and at the moment we just don’t have that evidence. If the number of retaliatory evictions is as low as some of those who gave evidence at our inquiry suggested, then Parliament should consider whether making tenants aware of their existing rights might be better than introducing more regulations. If this latest amendment does go ahead, then we will still need good evidence to ensure that we can monitor its success.”
Mr Colvile said the group strongly recommended that the government collect much more detailed information on why private sector tenants leave their homes. It is also calling for central and local government to work together to ensure effective enforcement of existing regulations and any new legislation affecting the private rented sector. It recommends that if new legislation is passed, safeguards should be put in place to ensure disputes are resolved quickly.
”The vast majority of private landlords offer a good service to their tenants,” said Mr Colvile. “Given that many of them are small-scale landlords, we need to ensure that further regulations do not deter them from providing much-needed homes.”
The secretariat to the APPG for the Private Rented Sector is provided by the Residential Landlords Association.
All-Party Parliamentary Groups are informal groups of Members of both Houses with a common interest in particular issues. They are not official committees of either the House of Lords or Commons.
The APPG is chaired by Oliver Colvile MP (Conservative, Plymouth Sutton and Devonport). Vice-chairs are Karen Buck MP (Labour, Westminster North) and David Ward MP (Liberal Democrat, Bradford East)
The APPG had originally been considering, The Tenancies Reform Bill, introduced by Sarah Teather MP, which failed to pass through the Commons. The measures on retaliatory evictions have now been included in an amendment to the Deregulation Bill, which is to be debated in the House of Lords in January.
This amendment can be found here
A copy of the report can be found at here