More tenants will put in vexatious complaints if Bill becomes law – warning

If a new Bill becomes law, then the number of tenants putting in vexatious complaints to hold up eviction proceedings will rise.

The warning has come from Paul Shamplina, of Landlord Action.

But Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather, who is introducing the Bill, says that tenants who “try it on” by claiming retaliatory evictions will not get very far.

Teather is introducing the measure seeking to stamp out revenge evictions – where a landlord gets rid of a tenant who asks for a repair or complains about the state of a property.

The Tenancies (Reform) Bill has the backing of the Government. Its second reading is due on November 28.

It would prevent landlords using Section 21 powers within six months of when a tenant has asked for a repair or made a complaint.

Teather emphasised: “When a complaint is received, a local authority will contact the landlord to resolve the problem, only serving a statutory notice if the landlord is clearly at fault and there is a serious issue with the property.

“So if an environmental health officer finds that the tenant has caused the problem or has not given the landlord access to the property, they will not be protected.

“Landlords will still be able to evict tenants who are in rent arrears and exemptions will also apply where a landlord is selling the property.

“In short, law-abiding landlords will still be able to evict as before, and they will also benefit from tenants who feel more confident to report issues as they arise.”

Teather claimed that 14% of families renting in London had been hit with revenge evictions in the last year alone.

However, landlord organisations such as the Residential Landlords Association say that revenge evictions are not common, and are concerned that bad tenants could spin out eviction proceedings by complaining about their properties, while not paying rent.

A cross-party Parliamentary Group on the private rented sector is currently inquiring into revenge evictions.

Among those who have given evidence are  Shamplina, and David Cox, managing director of ARLA.

Cox said that numbers of revenge evictions are “much, much” lower than the 213,000 a year often quoted. He put the number at 7,120 a year – but said this was still unacceptable.

Shamplina accused Shelter of “engaging in a lot of guesswork” and said that the problem of tenants putting in vexatious complaints to hold up eviction proceedings would be exacerbated if the Teather Bill became law.


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