According to a recent report provided by Citizen Advice, those privately renting who complain to their landlords about issues at their rental property, including issues such as damp and mould, are almost twice as likely to be evicted within a six-month period, in comparison to those that refrain from complaining.
The charity predicts that around 141,000 tenants have been impacted since laws attempting to ban revenge evictions were introduced in 2015.
Chief Executive of the charity, Gillian Guy, believes that the “well-intentioned laws” created to abolish revenge evictions have failed and that a new method is required.
A new study by Citizen Advice discovered that tenants who had received a Section 21, also referred to as the “no fault eviction” were 5 times more likely to have reported to their local authority and 8 times more likely to have made a complaint to a redress scheme.
A Government consultation on proposals to introduce minimum three-year tenancies in the private rental sector closes at the end of the month, and Citizen Advice advocates the idea.
It desires three-year tenancies to include limits on rent rises to prevent landlords from evicting tenants through pricing them out, no break clause at six months, and allowing tenants to leave contracts early if the landlord does not uphold legal responsibilities.
Guy remarked: “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.”
“Those living in substandard properties must have greater protection against eviction when they complain.
“Our report shows that well-intentioned laws created to put an end to revenge evictions have not worked, and a new fix is needed.
“There are serious question marks over the existence of a power that allows landlords to unilaterally evict tenants without reason – known as section 21.
“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.”
However, the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) rejected claims that landlords were conducting revenge evictions and said the main issue was Section 8 not working when a tenant was committing anti-social behaviour or failing to pay rent, leaving many with no choice but to issue a Section 21 notice.
The RLA said only 11% of tenancies are ended by the landlord and, of these, almost two-thirds regained their property because they wanted to sell it or use it.
David Smith, policy director of the RLA, said a Housing Court was instead required to settle disputes between landlords and tenants more quickly.
He said: “No good landlord will want to evict a tenant unless there is a major issue around rent arrears or anti-social behaviour. That’s why the average length of a tenancy is now four years.
“But where things do go wrong, landlords need to have confidence that they can regain their property. This is why we believe a new process, a dedicated Housing Court, needs to be established to speed things up and why there needs to be a six-month break clause in the proposed three-year tenancy.”