A bill to end retaliatory eviction

This afternoon, Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather presented the Tenancies (Reform) Bill for its first reading in Parliament. The bill is described as a “bill to protect tenants against retaliatory eviction; to amend the law on notices requiring possession relating to assured shorthold tenancies; and for connected purposes”.

Parliament will now debate whether to introduce legislation to end retaliatory eviction in the private rented sector.

Sarah presented the bill with the support of parliamentary colleagues from right across the house. Jeremey Lefroy, Bob Blackman, Sir Peter Bottomley, Nicola Blackwood and Philip Hollobone from the Conservative benches; Sarah’s Liberal Democrat colleagues Tessa Munt, Tim Farron and Andrew Stunell; and Labour’s John Healey, Andrew Smith and Fiona Mactaggart.

Getting a bill is an incredibly important step, which could help end this shocking practice.

How did this happen?

Sarah Teather was selected 7th (out of 20 MPs) in this year’s private members ballot. This means that she was given the opportunity to present a bill on any issue of her choosing. She picked a bill to end retaliatory eviction.

Sarah’s constituency, Brent Central, has an extremely high number of private renters. She’s seen this practice happen all too often- and has seized this opportunity to make a real difference to the 1.3 million families right across England who rent their homes privately.

As readers of this blog will know, Shelter’s ‘9 million renters’ campaign has been making a lot of noise about revenge eviction. Our advisers hear from family after family that are threatened with retaliatory action, just for enforcing their basic rights.

As well as Shelter, a broad range of organisations, including Crisis, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), Electrical Safety First and Citizens Advice have been instrumental in getting the bill this far. As already highlighted, putting a stop to retaliatory eviction makes so much sense, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t support this bill.

What happens next?

Sarah’s high position on the ballot means that parliament will have more time to debate her bill, ultimately giving it a greater chance of becoming law.

We also sincerely hope that the government will throw their support behind this bill. They have been talking about retaliatory eviction since October 2013- and they used their review of property conditions in the sector to explore possible solutions. As recently as last Wednesday, Communities and Local Government Minister, Nick Boles recognised that

Some landlords are trigger-happy in terminating tenancies, using any excuse to turf out a responsible tenant who has just had the temerity to complain about some aspect of the property.”

We still have a long way to go before this bill becomes a law. But this is a significant step. And massive thanks go to Sarah Teather, all Shelter’s staff and supporters who have campaigned against retaliatory eviction; all the organisations and local authorities who have championed this cause; and all the parliamentarians that have shown their support. Working together, we might just put an end to retaliatory eviction.

Tell us your thoughts on social housing, to get your voice heard at a national level

Had a bad housing experience? Share your story, to help us campaign for real change

Want to take action? Help us be there for every person who needs us

31 Comments
  1. And push up rents for everyone else.
    How many evictions are really ‘retaliatory’ for good tenants?

  2. Most tenants see the landlord as an easy target as does the law this bill has helped promote that idea of renting with impunity. How do you prove it was the case !

    1. we need to stop property being treated as an investment anyways, we need to get landlords out and real families in at an affordable price, all the time we have private landlords that just want to fund their living costs abroad in holiday homes and alike we are just making it more expensive of the average family, maybe if we make it not so appealing and highly profitable we might put a stop to it, sorry if you are a landlord and this has put an end to your dreams of a nicely topped up state pension every month by driving up rental costs and house prices

      1. And for the the majority of tenants that aren’t families or who choose to rent?

        Who will house them?

        Partly thanks to increased numbers of landlords investing, rental prices have been falling in real terms.

        But who cares about renters as long as you get to buy the cheap family house you think you ‘deserve’.

        1. actually that’s where your wrong, actually I am male 32 living alone, so before you get off on attacking me realise that I am in that situation myself and its because of that that im complaining about private landlords, they are more interested in housing families than single men, where you are getting the information that private landlords are responsible for lowering rental costs I really don’t know but here in dorset we have some of the highest house prices in the uk except London, I also know that when I was evicted from my last flat coz the landlord decided to sell and gave me no notice I was left to live in a tent for 6 weeks as not 1 landlord would allow me to have my dog, my dog is like my child !!!!!, that aint happening not if im the one paying to live there, and responsible for all the up-keep of the property!!, I have severe arthritis and am signed off work as I have the mobility of an 80 year old as I was told by my spine specialist, did anyone give a dam?….no they didn’t I was left in a cold wet tent for 6 weeks over the winter months it was not fair weather summer camping, so yeah I have been left high and dry by people who want my money each month without fail but don’t really want to do anything except profit from me, also I cant see why you are critical of people having the desire to own their own home? unless you are one of these landlords I refer to, im british and have worked for it!!!, why shouldn’t I be able to afford to live in my home country ??, unless you like the idea of being screwed to the wall just to pay the rent let alone feed yourself??.

        2. I know no-one who would chose to rent !!, we should all own our houses many of us used to until a few years ago when this country really went to the dogs, after all why is it called the “rental trap” would love you to put some information forward to back up your statement about private landlords driving prices down, have never ever seen a rent go down yet!, your comment about getting the house I deserve makes me out to be more than a little selfish when in reality access to affordable housing would benefit a lot more people before it got to benefiting me, that much I am certain

          1. http://www.propertywire.com/news/europe/england-wales-rental-index-201406209266.html

            Average residential rent across England and Wales increases by 0.6% between April and May but despite this monthly change the annual rise of 1.1% is below inflation for the twelfth month in a row.

            The data from the latest LSL Property Services index also shows that London rents are now rising at only 1% per year, after heavy investment by landlords in the capital.

            In absolute terms, the average rent in England and Wales has risen by £8 in the last 12 months, currently standing at £745 per month, compared to £737 in May 2013.

            Private renting is becoming cheaper in real terms. May’s latest sub-inflation rent rises will help over nine million tenants.

          2. my point exactly, there has been NO drop in rent prices just politicians trying to make the figures look good when all the time they are still going up, this is just how they do everything now, while all the time the politicians will get a pey rise every year around 11% and the rest of us would be lucky to see 1.5%, if you want to talk about intrest rates and inflation that’s fine however you cant ignore the fact that is says rent cost has increased just coz its slowed down a little for 12months what about the 20 years upto this point ?, I would suggest you take a look at income vs rent cost between now and 1980

          3. please don’t take my comments the wrong way here, I can see what you are trying to say and I appreciate that you have put forward your evidence, but I simply cant ignore the fact that the cost of renting its still going up, in my opinion its always been too high in the first place certainly in the last 15 years that I have known the market, to me the fact that the level of increase is slowing down for the last 12 months for the first time is really little consolation considering its always been over priced for many many years and has far exceed the level of inflation for all that time.

  3. The landlord an easy target?! Utter nonsense, i don’t know what planet you’ve been living on but the landlords weild the power and have a responsibility to uphold the rights of their tenants. This is being abused by some, who treat letting as income supplement or a pastime and it needs to stop.

  4. I think you confusing private rental with council housing. Perhaps that’s where you should be looking and putting a case to government. But hang on.. there aren’t any. Thank goodness for private landlords who have picked up the tab!

  5. Why would a landlord evict a tenant for reporting a repair issue?. Tenants stop paying the rent, if repairs are not carried out. Or worse still loose a good tenant, because he/she is fed up with the landlord. It costs a small fortune in letting fees to find a new tenants.

    Shelter’s real agenda is to stop tenants been evicted, using bogus excuse of retaliatory eviction. Shelter don’t care if a tenants is not paying the rent or wrecking the property.

    Here some landlords fed-up with Shelter’s campaigning style, but this video :-
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=M7SZ4-mpmIs

    Shelter has to change its attitude, instead of protecting the tenant, they should be trying to protect the property from damage. That is the only way landlords can keep the rent down.

    1. on this issue, when I moved into my property I had a broken window in the bathroom, I still have it 9 months later, I also knew personally the old tenant here who said they had put up with this for over a year after a neighbours kid put a football through it by accident, this is the sort of thing I see all the time and I know if I complain about and try to get it fixed I will probably need to find somewhere else to live!! you cant say anything that will incur cost to the landlords these days coz they are just in it for the money and sheer profit, I know my landlord also minimises his costs of buying property by buying up peppercorn rentals and waiting till the tenant dies to rent the property so he is in a win win situation while all through the winter I was left to heat the place at massive cost to myself, still I don’t say anything as I don’t need the hasstle it would bring.

    2. I the age of national databases why do we not have a system where if the landlord has been a victim of a bad tenant they can provide proof and if the proof is genuine the tenant goes on a national database to show this person has done damage to a property at this address to the cost of £xxxx, this would need to be done on an official basis i.e. submission of cost of repairs logged at a court or something and the court should then investigate to ensure the costs were genuine and fair otherwise landlords could deliberately run up the cost to stain someones reputation more than is fair, if damage is done and the costs are accurate then this should go onto a database against that persons N.I. number or something, then the bad tenants are punished properly and the good ones get treated as such, we all have a credit file so why don’t we have a property file? sounds like a better system than the reference system we currently have, its obviously not working if you are checking out the tenants that are doing all this damage based on their references.

      1. I am sure Shelter fight any proposals for a national database. Shelter don’t see a connection between damage to a property and quality of rental properties available. Landlords don’t have an infinite supply of money to fix properties.

        1. LandlordReferencing.co.uk is actually working on a premise like this. It’s not a database of tenants but it matches tenants up to their real previous landlords. This means that tenants who have left previous landlords with arrears or property damages and are therefore likely to lie about who their previous landlords are can’t get away with it. You’re right though. They’ve had some resistance and groups like shelter calling them “black list sites” when really all it does is make sure that tenants aren’t lying about who their previous landlord is.

      2. There is not a data base of landlords so it would not be equal to have data base for tenants. Your suggestion for the court to make an assessment of damage currently exists as it is a claim for damage for disrepair under contract law if a landlord wishes to do so.
        Would you agree with a national landlord registration system?

        1. its a fair point and yes I would agree to a database of landlords, and as for people lying about previous landlord info, this would be very hard to do if there was a database where people had to register with official ID i.e. drivers licence/passport, I have had 2 bad landlords now and one of them still owes me £913.84 in over paid rent(he declared himself bankrupt) and managed to keep his house by putting it in his partners name, I cant afford to persue it further, its a double edged sword and BOTH parties in a tenancy agreement need to be offered REAL protection that works

    3. The reason for Shelter’s existence is because if the problems that some tenants experience with their housing, in exactly the same way that the RLA & NLA were established to represent landlords.

      However Shelter does advice tenants that they must act in a tenant like manner. That means that they must not damage a property, and if they do, deductions will be made from the deposit, that is administered by an independent agency.

      Last year, Shelter in an attempt to develop a working dialogue with landlord organisations convened a series of seminars with them and various other agencies including local councils. In order to avoid bias British Gas chaired the meeting. Unfortunately my organisation’s representative reported that the meeting he attended did not achieve very much as one of the landlord reps suggested that LAs and others did not understand the private sector. It makes joint progress almost impossible.

      At a meeting, not convened by Shelter to discuss how to improve and change rent arrears claims (particularly in the private sector) none of the landlord orgs attended.

  6. If this became law. Landlords would become incredibly fussy about the tenants they took on. It is a back handed way at secure tenancies, it would make it hard to get rid of bad tenants.

    1. landlord choose the tenants, landlords also impose rules that they would not abide by in their own homes, i.e. no pets no children no smokers and no dss on every single advert I have ever seen with the exception of the 1%, just because someone is dss dosent mean they are a bad tennant also I have never seen the logic as the rent is guaranteed to be paid for a dss tenant, some cases I can see why some of these rules are applied but not many, I have seen countless countryside houses for rent that wont allow pets, yet most folk that live in the countryside have pets, they make it so dam hard to get in anywhere, and agents are just as bad often stacking up 50 clients against 1 property only to disappoint 49 of them, wouldn’t mind this so much if it didn’t take months to get told you have to go back to square 1, oh and p.s. I have always paid my rent in advance when I moved in to my place now in sept last year I paid 2 months deposit and 3 months up-front!, I keep the place immaculate and have never had a problem with my current landlord however the last landlord was being paid the rent and telling me he hadn’t got it, he gave me no receipt book, no contract, and then sold the house making me homeless leaving me in a tent, I had no warning of any of this until he got the electric company to come in and remove the meter !, he still owes me £913.84 In overpaid rent, he sold the house didn’t re pay me and declared himself bankrupt and added his debt to me to his bankruptcy list, so where the justice in that??

      1. I have never seen the logic as the rent is guaranteed to be paid for a dss tenant

        Not any more it isn’t, that changed some time ago.

        1. speaking as someone who has damage to the spine, I have been signed off on a long term basis, I can tell you mine is paid I have not had a problem with that at all, the only problem I have is since ian Duncan smith introduced bedroom tax I have to contribute myself from my esa, not really fair as I live in a bedsit flat without even a bedroom so why I am being peanalised by the bedroom tax I don’t know, still the rent gets paid, the council has been very helpful unlike the dwp, but it stands that if you are in receipt of benefit you are entitled to housing benefit

          1. Shelly is correct.

            Since 2008, the system was changed. The rent was no longer paid to the landlord, it was paid straight into the tenants bank account.

            This is why you are finding lots of landlords don’t want to rent to people on housing benefit, because the rent is n’t been paid.

          2. actually the tenant can choose if they want the rent paid to them or the landlord directly, I used to have it paid to the landlord directly however after my last landlord would receive this money then come and knock on my door frantically saying that he hasn’t been paid again and if I don’t pay him by the end of the day he was going to throw all my stuff out onto the street, since this experience I now receive the money and pass it on to the landlord, this way he has to come and sign my book to say its been received I can also keep track of payments, and I can sort any problems out a lot quicker if payment does not show, this or similar is probably the reason why a lot of people have made the change like myself, as for the database im sure shelter will oppose it and im sure they will have all the bad tenants supporting them making out they are good tenants when in all reality they are the problem, however I don’t feel this is a reason not to try as a landlord and get together with other landlords and agents and try to put something into place you cant just give up and not even try just because of one website that will probably oppose you, im sure you would have a lot of support from fellow landlords and agents alike, I really don’t see how people could stop it happening after all we all have a medical record a tax record a credit file a police file etc etc etc, people are powerless to all of those so why would this be any different?

          3. Thats not strictly true my housing benefit is paid direct to my landlord all you need to is put a clause in the tenancy agreement stating that housing benefit must be paid direct to landlord and the council will do it

  7. My husband works full-time and I am self employed. We were the victims of retaliatory eviction by the ROOK MATTHEW SAYER Newcastle upon Tyne Lettings Department who coerced our landlord into having us evicted. This was the first time our landlord had let her property after leaving for SA to get married. At the time I was 9 months pregnant and our toddler was just 18 months old. After a string of repairs (old model washing machine broke completely after they fixed it once, burglar alarm was tripped by an exposed garden plug socket (!) Which resulted in us having to call out the council to have it turned off as the lettings out of hours repair man was too drunk to drive – which the lettings department hotly denied after the fella told me himself!). We were evicted the week I gave birth. Due to all the stress of finding somewhere to live, moving and bringing our newborn from hospital with no nest waiting I became severely ill after labour and I have long-term health problems which affect our whole family today, two years later. The way we were spoken to and treated by the agents was so appallingly horrible it still reduces me to tears thinking about it. We had no one to turn to and live everyday with what happened to us. The injustice still haunts us.

  8. This is just stupid. Why would a landlord evict a perfectly good tenant just because they asked for a repair? Finding a new tenant is risky, and involves void periods. Why would anyone do this? The answer is that tenants deliberately provoke the landlord into evicting them because then the council has to house them – in cheaper council accommodation. They sabotage the property, refuse the landlord entry to carry out repairs, then complain to the housing department that the property is sub standard. Getting rent is like getting blood from a stone – pretty soon you have had enough of them and issue the section 21, and they then start hassling the council for accommodation, which was the plan all along. This has got worse since the LHA was reduced to the 30th %ile which means more tenants have to pay a top up over their housing benefit.

  9. Landlords have always been fussy about tenants as far as I can remember and, mind you, I do speak from tenant’s perspective.

    I do wonder if we would see more news about tenants going haywire (almost like that guy who got 20k richer because of a foolish landlord) and start spilling landlord blood on the streets…?

    Well, maybe not all that radical and stuff but more “civilized” forms of revenge like it was mentioned over here

    http://audreyw.soup.io/#nojs

    I bet you anything, some people are mad in their guts and if it was not for tenant’s records and the police, we’d be witnessing a lot more tenant vigilantism going left and right. Understandible to a degree, having in mind legislators seem to be favouring landlords, giving them the upper hand with each passing law.

Comments are closed.