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Evictions Amendment still wrong approach

RLA
Written by RLA

An amendment to the Deregulation Bill on retaliatory evictions would put an impossible burden on councils and be ineffective in practice, claims the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).

An amendment to the Deregulation Bill on retaliatory evictions would put an impossible burden on councils and be ineffective in practice, claims the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).

Existing regulations can be used to protect tenants, the RLA adds.

Landlords are criticising the amendment, which follows the content of Sarah Teather MP’s Bill, defeated last Friday (28th November).

The amendment is scheduled to be debated in January.

The RLA believes that the amendment is the wrong response to retaliatory evictions because:

  • Consumer Rights regulations already make retaliatory evictions illegal and guidance by the Competition and Markets Authority has already been issued, making this amendment unnecessary.
  • The amendment would prevent landlords from regaining possession of their property when tenants don’t pay their rent or commit anti-social behaviour and claim for spurious repairs.
  • Last year, the Communities and Local Government Select Committee warned against such legislation as it would “stunt the market”. The Government agreed with this assessment.
  • There is no reliable information on the scale of the problem this seeks to address – the Government doesn’t collect the data.

Commenting on the amendment, Alan Ward, chairman of the RLA said:

“The RLA shares concerns about the need to tackle retaliatory evictions and condemns any landlord who engages in such practices.

“Rather than pile yet more regulations on the sector, what is needed is better enforcement of existing powers which hard pressed councils already find difficult to enforce.

“Tenants need better information about their rights and responsibilities. That would give many the confidence to complain about a minority of landlords who have no place in private rented sector.”

Further Information
  • In July 2013 the Communities and Local Government Select Committee published its report on the private rented sector which can be found at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmcomloc/50/50.pdf. On page 42, commenting on the prospect of legislation to address the problem of retaliatory evictions the committee concluded:
    • “We are not convinced, however, that a legislative approach is the best or even an effective solution. Changing the law to limit the issuing of section 21 notices might be counter-productive and stunt the market.”
  • In its response to the Select Committee report published in October 2013 ( https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/251147/CM_8730.pdf), the Government agreed stating:
    • “The Government accepts the Committee’s recommendation about retaliatory eviction, and agrees that legislation is not the preferred approach.
    • In June, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issued guidance on the relationship between landlords and tenants. This guidance makes clear that under the terms of the 2008 Unfair Trading Regulations, coming from the Consumer Protection Act, it is a breach of these where “any commercial practice that, in the context of the particular circumstances, intimidates or exploits consumers such as to restrict (or be likely to restrict) their ability to make free or informed choices in relation to a product, and which cause or are likely to cause the average consumer to take a different transactional decision. These are known as aggressive practices.”
  • In the examples of what could constitute aggressive practices, it includes, “Threatening the tenant with eviction to dissuade them from exercising rights they have under the tenancy agreement or in law, for example where they wish to make a complaint to a local authority about the condition of the property, or seek damages for disrepair.”

About the author

RLA

RLA

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) represents the interests of landlords in the private rented sector (PRS) across England and Wales. With over 23,000 subscribing members, and an additional 16,000 registered guests who engage regularly with the association, we are the leading voice of private landlords. Combined, they manage almost half a million properties.

3 Comments

  • I think the worry is that they wear us down with these attempts at bringing in this nonsensical legislation.
    It would be good to have some bullet points to keep repeating.
    For example, as mentioned the above, the lack of any reliable data to suggest this is a problem (Shelter has their unsubstantiated figure of 200,000, which if it were true, would mean so-called retaliatory eviction was not a problem for 98% of tenants).
    Basically a summary of key arguments would be good, so that we can keep pushing them – many MPs have no idea or understanding of the issue, and I think many Conservative MPs at least wouldn’t support it if they understood the basic facts.

  • Given that the deregulatoin bill is now nearing the end of it’s passage through the Lords and has already been through the Commons, it appears that our MPs have no further say in this ammendment.

    Does anyone know how we can make our views heard in the Lords?

    My reading of the amendment is taht it protects tenants from bad landlords but does nothing to protect landlords from bad tenants.

    There needs to be real deterrent for vexatious complaints by tenants: that should be criminal sanctions, not a fine: that sort of tenant probably has little money anyway so would not pay a financial penalty or would pay a fine before repaying landlord.

    There are also lots of unintended consequences, such as removing the ability of a mortgage company to use a S21 to get rid of a tenant if there is an outstanding complaint, so remortgaging with a tenant in place is likely to become difficult: tenants will be evicted just to allow a remortgage (bad for tenants as welll as landlords)

  • I have had one difficult tenant who would not allow any repairs to the house unless I personally was there to supervise the entire time, being a working Landlord that was impossible, he didn’t maintain the garden, which could have hidden an elephant in the rear, really this is not an exaggeration, the place wasn’t cleaned and was becoming a danger. by the way the house was in first class condition when he moved in and only some 12 years old. If he had complained to the council that the house was not being maintained I couldn’t have got him out with the Section21 which I did. A few thousand pounds later the house is back to the first class standard which I expect my properties to be in when a new tenant takes over and which I try to keep them at. In case you are wondering this man was a professional who passed the reference and credit checks with flying colours. In short the proposed bill would have made it impossible for me to regain possession of my house. Please remember that most Landlords are decent people who must have an uncompromised protection in law as well as the tenants

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