Tenants to get “Revenge Eviction” Protection
Are you one of the nine million people in the UK that privately rent your home? If so, you could be getting some extra protection from being evicted after making completely justifiable complaints.
Sadly, this occurrence is more common than you might think. Some rogue landlords kick tenants from their property for simply making a complaint about something that affects their health and safety, something the landlord is responsible for.
These are referred to as “revenge evictions” and according to housing charity Shelter, more than 200,000 people were thrown out of their home just last year for this very reason.
“Nobody should have to raise their children in a place where their health and well-being are at risk,” said Shelter Chief Executive Campbell Robb, “let alone live in fear of being thrown out simply for complaining about a problem in their home.”
A bill from Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather is being backed by the government that would mean that tenants could complain about their leaky roofs, broken boilers and the like without having top fear they might be evicted for it. However, the government has stressed that the bill is only meant to target bad landlords, and not preventing legitimate evictions.
For a tenant to be entitled to legal protection, problems would first have to be reported to the council to confirm the health and safety issue exists. The tenant should then contact the landlord safe in the knowledge that they couldn’t be evicted on the basis of making a legitimate complaint.
Communities Minister Stephen Williams explained that he was determined to rid the renting scene of the small number of rogue landlords that give renting a bad name. At the same time, he wants to make sure that people are able to ask for essential home repairs without suffering repercussions.
The government is also funding councils with almost £7 million to help them deal with these landlords. So far, within the last seven months, 6,500 properties have been inspected with the funding, and almost 2,000 property owners are facing prosecution and further action.
“The government’s commitment to this bill is a welcome step towards ending revenge evictions,” said Matt Downie, policy and external affairs director at single homeless person charity Crisis. He explained that for too long, too many renters have had to put up with “horrendous” conditions and unable to complain about them for fear of being kicked out of their home. “This bill will give people the confidence to demand improvements and we will be working… to help make this legislation a reality.”