A new law will ban landlords from evicting tenants for no good reason

It has been announced that landlords in the private rental sector in England will soon no longer be able to evict tenants from their homes at short notice and without having a good reason for doing so; which are called ‘no-fault evictions’. The government plan to consult on new legislation to replace the current Section 21 eviction process, which landlords can use at the moment to evict a tenant for any reason, giving just eight weeks’ notice if they don’t have a fixed term contract in place at the time. There is not yet a date for this proposal to be made law.

‘Revenge evictions’ for complaining about disrepair

One thing that the upcoming change will aim to stop is the practice of landlords carrying out so-called ‘revenge evictions.’ If a tenant complains about disrepair in their rented home, the landlord is obligated by law to make repairs that fall under their responsibility. However, it’s currently possible for the landlord to then serve their tenant with a Section 21, without needing to provide a reason. This can make some tenants afraid to complain about issues in their rented home, even if conditions are dangerous or substandard.

The new legislation should stop this from happening, with landlords having to provide a legitimate reason to end a tenancy. These reasons could include if the landlord wishes to sell the property or move into it themselves, but will not allow landlords to evict tenants for complaining about things that need fixing in the home.

Does the change affect social housing tenants?

If you’re a social housing tenant, with your home owned by a housing association or council, you’re probably already protected from ‘no-fault evictions’ because you have a different type of tenancy agreement to most private renters. Your written rental agreement will tell you exactly what type of tenancy you have. The most common types of social housing tenancy are:

Starter tenancy

You may have starter tenancy (usually 6-12 months in length) if you are new to social housing. This is to prove you are a responsible tenant. If you complete this starter tenancy without any problems, then you are usually offered an assured tenancy.

Assured tenancy

As an assured tenant, you can usually stay in your home for the rest of your life, if you abide by the tenancy conditions (e.g. pay your rent on time) and your responsibilities for the upkeep of the property.

Assured shorthold tenancy

This is the type of tenancy that is similar to private renters, and is less usual for social housing tenants, but you may have this type of agreement if you live in supported housing. It means that, in theory, the housing association or council could evict you after your fixed term has ended (usually six-months) and give you two months’ notice to leave. They will usually only do this if you break the terms of your tenancy agreement. Otherwise, you can usually stay there for as long as you wish to continue the tenancy.

Can a social landlord evict me for complaining about disrepair?

If you live in a council or housing association property, you cannot be evicted for complaining about disrepair within your home. Your social landlord is legally obliged to make any repairs that they are responsible for, which generally includes anything structural, or anything to do with permanent fittings and fixtures in your home, such as pipes and sanitation.

If you have complained about disrepair to your social landlord and they have not made the necessary repairs after a reasonable amount of time, or they do not seem to be taking your complaints seriously, you might be eligible to make a disrepair claim. A successful claim for disrepair would mean that a court will order your landlord to make the repairs, and you might also be able to claim for compensation if the disrepair issues have caused you severe stress or contributed to health problems.

For more information on social housing disrepair complaints or a free claim assessment, contact CEL Solicitors on 0808 273 0900