Calls for change in laws in England that would prevent revenge evictions by landlords
A new report has revealed that tenants in the private rental sector in England who formally complain about issues such as damp and mould in their home have around a one in two chance of being issued an eviction notice within six months.
Since laws attempting to ban revenge evictions were introduced in 2015, the charity Citizens Advice estimates that around 141,000 tenants have been affected.
The private rental sector is the second most common tenure in England with 4.7 million households and over 1.7 million of those families with dependent children.
The research revealed that complaining dramatically increases a renter’s chance of being served with an eviction notice when compared to those who do not complain. Tenants who had received a section 21 no-fault eviction notice were twice as likely to have raised a dispute with their landlord, five times more likely to have contacted their local authority and eight times more likely to have complained to a redress scheme.
The charity argues that the statistics prove that the 2015 laws designed to protect families and other tenants in the private rental sector from being evicted after complaining are not working.
While they back the government’s proposals for minimum three year tenancies, they say they are concerned that potential loopholes may undermine protections that longer tenancies provide and want these tenancies to be written into law, including limits on rent rises, break out clauses and allowing tenants to leave early if the landlord doesn’t uphold legal responsibilities.
Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “The chance of a family being evicted from their home for complaining about a problem shouldn’t carry the same odds as the toss of a coin.
“Our report shows that well-intentioned laws created to put an end to revenge evictions have not worked, and a new fix is needed.
“While Government plans for minimum three-year tenancies is a step in the right direction, these changes must be strong enough to genuinely prevent revenge evictions once and for all.”