Landlords urge clarity before legislation – evictions report

Written by RLA

More should be done to establish the scale of ‘revenge evictions’ before legislation is resurrected which could put private landlords off providing more homes, according to a group of MPs…

Landlords are calling on government to seek clear, independent evidence on the scale of retaliatory eviction before legislating on the problem.

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has welcomed calls by MPs and Peers to hold off on new legislation to restrict so-called revenge evictions which could damage the private rented sector.

A new report by a cross-party group of MPs and Peers has called for much better data on the scale of retaliatory evictions in the private rented sector and questioned whether new restrictions are really necessary.

A private member’s bill to address retaliatory evictions – where tenants who complain about the state of their property are then issued with an eviction notice – failed to pass through the House of Commons in November. But peers are to debate similar measures as an amendment to the Deregulation Bill in the New Year.

And now the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Private Rented Sector has published a report warning that without more evidence to clarify the ‘bewildering’ variety of data on the issue, it’s not certain that legislation is ‘necessarily the best tool’.

The RLA said the report offered a welcome opportunity to consider the true extent of the problems of retaliatory evictions before further action is taken.

RLA chairman Alan Ward said:

“Today’s report brings some much-needed clear thinking to the debate which should be based on facts and data and not on hyperbole.

“Retaliatory evictions are wrong and the RLA condemns any landlord who engages in such practices.   But the RLA agrees that Parliament needs clear, independent evidence on the scale of the problem before it can decide how best to take the matter forward. The Minister has admitted the government does not have the data.”

The amendment to the Deregulation Bill would mean that where a landlord is given a notice from their local authority to improve their property, they could not regain possession of the home for six months.

But the RLA supports the APPG’s view that this approach would provide no incentive for a landlord to rectify problems swiftly. The report instead calls for a landlord to regain possession rights as soon as improvements have been made.

The MPs and Peers also call for a time limit to be set in which a local authority would have to investigate a tenant’s complaint. After this, the report calls for landlord to regain full rights to repossess the property to avoid an indefinite period of limbo for tenants and landlords alike.

Alan Ward said of this proposal:

“It is simply absurd that the amendment could potentially leave a tenant trapped in what could be unsafe properties for a prolonged period of time.”

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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.


  • It is imperative that any such legislation, if indeed it is proven that any is necessary at all, is drafted in such a way to ensure that vexatious complaints by tenants cannot be used as a tool to defer a landlords rights to regain possession for legitimate purposes. For example, many landlords use section 21 notices to evict a tenant who is an erratic payer or in arrears. Once a section 21 notice is issued then any complaints made by tenants to their Council need to be excluded from any revenge eviction based legislation.

  • I think it is a mistake for the RLA to approach this as though it is inevitable legislation. Also, in the above article there is no mention of arrears. It should be added that if such legislation is passed, a tenant who is in arrears can still be served the notice as there must be recognition of the tenants’ responsibilities as well as rights and if they are in arrears then they are in breach of their tenancy agreement. Also: what about if they have pets when they are not allowed or are in breach of their tenancy agreement in other ways? Also: what about if they have caused the damage to the house in the first place? Some tenants tamper with boilers for instance and may break them. We have had malicious tenants where if we repaired a window they had smashed before they moved out, they could smash the new one. We had to wait until they had left or we could be replacing windows every day until we got possession. There is no mention or recognition of the existence of these rogue tenants – which are in far greater numbers than any rogue landlords.
    Also, in the report, it was stated that it was clearly grossly unfair that a tenant might be able to inform a local authority of a maintenance issue without first giving the landlord an opportunity to put it right. Thus it is crucial that there is a clause stating that the tenant must be able to prove they have informed the landlord in writing of the need for a repair and that they have given the landlord a reasonable time to sort it out – bearing in mind that plumbers and electricians are not available at the push of a button to come running. There are so many factors to be taken in consideration. And all of this is in the context of no credible data on the so-called issue anyway…

    • Hi Ros, thanks for the comment.

      In acknowledgement of your views I would hasten to say that you are very right in your assessment that criminal tenants, as well as criminals posing as landlords needs to be dealt with effectively for the betterment of the entire section.

      However, the RLA has specifically challenged many of the items that you are citing.

      I redirect your attention to the bespoke campaign page that the RLA has created in order to encapsulate what is ultimately a massive debate. This article is more of a summary of proceedings after the Bill failed in Parliament.

      Please visit the aforementioned campaign page by visiting this link: http://www.rla.org.uk/landlord/lobbying/retaliatory-evictions/index.shtml?ref=current-activity

      Thank you again for your comment, I hope this allays your concerns to a certain extent.

      Best regards,
      RLA Campaigns.

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