Of all the injustices suffered by private renters on a regular basis, being evicted for making a complaint about your home is one of the worst. Until now those in power have refused to believe this problem of ‘retaliatory’ or ‘revenge eviction’ really goes on – as a group that supports renters in Hackney, we know it does. Shelter found that over 213,000 renters had been served with an eviction notice because they complained. And this type of eviction is perfectly legal.
Digs have written to our two MPs, Diane Abbott and Meg Hillier, to ask them to support the Tenancies (Reform) Bill. Why don’t you write to your MP and ask them to do the same?
The Tenancies (Reform) Bill proposes to stop landlords from serving a Section 21 eviction notice if their tenants have complained about a serious health hazard or repair issue.
Retaliatory eviction, and the threat of retaliatory eviction is something that we’ve seen a lot of in Hackney. Renters ask their landlord to repair something or complain about mould or damp only to be evicted. Many renters are put off from complaining or carry out repairs at their own cost because of fear of eviction.
It won’t stop landlords like millionaire Fergus Wilson from evicting tenants because they have ‘too many children’ or from the great many landlords across London and the UK hiking up the rent to extortionate levels. But it is another step towards ending the arbitrary use of evictions by landlords and agents.
Here’s the letter we sent to our MPs here in Hackney – feel free to copy and paste and send it to your own MP!
Tenancies (Reform) Bill
We are writing to you to ask that you lend support to the Tenancies (Reform) Bill, which will receive its Second Reading on the 28th November.
As you may already be aware, the Bill seeks to prevent landlords from carrying out ‘Revenge Evictions’ when tenants complain about a serious repair or condition issue. Often these are issues which would rank as a ‘Category 1’ Hazard to health under the 2004 Housing Act. The Bill proposes that a landlord will not be able to serve a Section 21 (‘faultless eviction’) notice, which in effect gives the tenant two months to leave.
We see cases of this on a regular basis in Hackney. One woman was evicted by her landlord because she’d politely written to him asking him to remove and broken wardrobe. He described her as a ‘problem tenant’ to the local authority because she’d apparently ‘answered back’.
According to Shelter, 200 000 renters were either evicted or threatened with eviction because they complained to their landlord about a condition or repair issue. Many more renters (1 in 12) avoid reporting issues to their landlord because they fear eviction.
The Bill is currently supported by at least 18 different organisations including the NUS, LGA, Age UK, MacMillan, and Citizens’ Advice, as well as MPs from all sides. For more details, please see the Shelter website: http://england.shelter.org.uk/campaigns/fixing_private_renting/9_million_renters
We believe that this Bill is a useful step in improving conditions for renters but that beyond this, Section 21 should ultimately be abolished and renters provided with proper security in their homes. We hope that you are able to support renters by attending on the 28th November and voting for the Tenancies (Reform) Bill.