12th September 2014
The government has said it will back a bill to give private tenants extra protection from rogue landlords.
Nine million tenants in privately rented accommodation would be safeguarded from ‘revenge evictions’, where landlords evict tenants for making reasonable complaints such as broken boilers or leaky roofs.
The private member’s bill would make it illegal for landlords to evict tenants who complain justifiably although it is uncertain whether it will come into force before the next election.
Minister for communities Stephen Williams said he aimed to ‘outlaw revenge evictions once and for all – ensuing tenants do not face the prospect of losing their home simply because they’ve asked for essential repairs to be made’.
The Citizens Advice Bureau has welcomed the move, saying the bill was long overdue.
‘Protection from eviction is good news for four million UK household. In the past year Citizens Advice helped with 38% more eviction problems in cases where people were up to date on their rent,’ said Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice.
‘Although rent arrears is a common problem, the biggest cause of homelessness for private renters is the landlord ending their contract, rather than because tenants have fallen behind on their bills. Preventing landlords from turfing people out of their homes simply for asking for essential property repairs is a matter of basic fairness and is long overdue.’
Guy added that the problems in the UK housing market were ‘deep-rooted’ and ‘there is no silver bullet to make it work’.
‘Tenants in all types of housing too often face high prices, low quality and an uphill struggle to keep a roof over their head and greater protection for renters would be a huge step in the right direction,’ she said.