Tenants will be given stronger protections against rogue landlords under measures announced today (5 February 2015).
The government introduced proposals that would stop the small minority of rogue landlords who evict tenants simply for asking for essential repairs to be made.
Protection against retaliatory eviction
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.
The government published amendments to the Deregulation Bill , which will extend the existing restrictions on a landlord’s powers to evict, where they don’t protect a deposit or have a licence they are required to hold, to situations where a health and safety hazard has been identified by environmental health officers.
Today’s measures would 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 their tenants.
The move is also designed to strike the right balance, so they only target bad landlords and cannot be used by tenants to frustrate legitimate evictions. And it avoids excessive regulation, which would push up rents and restrict supply in the private rented sector, reducing choice for tenants.
Communities Minister Stephen Williams said:
“We’re determined to create a bigger, better private rented sector – a key part of that is to tackle the minority of rogue landlords that blight the lives of their tenants.
“That’s why I’m proposing changes to the law that would outlaw ‘retaliatory evictions’, so tenants don’t face the prospect of losing their home simply for asking that repairs be made.”
Tackling rogue landlords
The government has given councils £6.7 million to tackle rogue landlords in their area.
Using that funding, 30 councils have inspected more than 30,000 properties, while more than 3,000 landlords face further action and prosecution.
This is one of a range of measures the government has taken to create a bigger, better private rented sector, including:
•launching a new Model Tenancy Agreement so tenants can ask for longer tenancies if they choose to
•a How to rent guide so tenants and landlords alike know their rights and responsibilities when renting privately
• new rules requiring letting agents to belong to one of 3 redress schemes, so any tenant or landlord who gets a poor service has somewhere to go with their complaint
• proposed new rules requiring letting agents to publish full details of the fees they charge to tenants
•an industry-led code of practice making clear the legal requirements and best practice
•a £1 billion Build to Rent fund to deliver homes specifically for private rent