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28th April 2020

Q: What is a Revenge Eviction?

A: “Revenge Eviction”, as it’s known in the media, is when a landlord ends a tenancy via a Section 21 Notice after a tenant has complained to the landlord about a matter relating to the property.  This part of the Deregulation Act, that came into force in October 2015, is not widely known or understood by all.

A Section 21 Notice (S21 Notice) was imaginatively named after Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, which allows a landlord to regain possession of their property, but only at the end of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy or Fixed Term Tenancy agreement.  Landlords are able to issue a Section 21 Notice without giving any reason for ending the tenancy agreement, and this is where some of the controversy has stemmed from.  This law centres around the fact that landlords are unable to issue a Section 21 Notice if their tenant has previously complained (in writing) about the condition of the rental property and the landlord has failed to deal with the complaint properly and within a reasonable time period.

Tenants must be able to raise issues with their landlord or agent without the fear of losing their home and the few landlords who have undertaken such practice deserve to be punished, however, as with most cases the minority spoil it for the majority.

Some agents and landlords say that tenants could exploit this law by making claims in order to delay the eviction process, resulting in lengthy delays in regaining possession or high court costs.

A snapshot of what you need to know:

  • When a tenant complains, in writing, to their landlord about the condition of their property, the landlord has 14 days to respond.
  • If the landlord responds and then carries out the work, there’s no impact to serve a S21 Notice in the future.
  • If the repairs are not carried out or the landlord fails to respond to the tenant’s written complaint within 14 days, the tenant then has the right to complain to their council.
  • The council then should decide whether it wants to issue the landlord with a relevant notice.
  • If the council does not issue a relevant notice, this does not affect the landlord’s right to issue a Section 21 Notice.
  • If the council does decide to issue a relevant notice, as well as having to carry out the repairs/improvements to the property, the landlord will not be able to serve a Section 21 Notice for 6 months from that date.

The details set out above are a snapshot, and are in no way exhaustive.  If you’re worried about this, please get in touch with us for more information.  As long as you have kept your property maintained well at all times, then giving notice should not be an issue.

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