Ministers gave their backing in principle to a Private Member’s Bill to stop the small minority of rogue landlords who, rather than meet their legal duty to keep their properties at a reasonable standard and remove health and safety hazards, instead evict tenants simply for asking for essential repairs to be made - on the condition that the Bill only targets bad landlords and cannot be used by tenants to frustrate legitimate evictions.
Communities Minister Stephen Williams said Sarah Teather’s Bill would help root out a minority of spiteful landlords and ensure that hardworking tenants are not afraid to ask for better standards in their homes.
The Bill will extend the existing restrictions on a landlord’s power to evict, where they don’t protect a deposit or have a licence they are required to hold, to situations where a health and safety hazard has been identified by environmental health officers.
Whilst the vast majority of landlords offer a good quality professional service a few rogues shirk their legal responsibilities and use the threat of eviction to silence tenants from rightly speaking out against sub-standard and dangerous accommodation.
Accepting a petition from Shelter on revenge evictions, Minister for Communities Stephen Williams said:
Our private rental sector is a vital asset, providing a home to 9 million people across the country. So I’m determined to root out the minority of rogue landlords that give it a bad name.
That’s why we’re backing Sarah Teather’s Bill to outlaw revenge evictions once and for all - ensuring tenants do not face the prospect of losing their home simply because they’ve asked for essential repairs to be made.
Ensuring a fair deal for good landlords and tenants
The government is determined to root out the small minority of rogue landlords – and has given councils £6.7 million to tackle those in their area. Over the last 7 months 23 councils have used their share of government funding to inspect more than 6,500 properties, with more than 1,700 landlords now facing further action and prosecution.
This Bill is one of a range of measures that will empower tenants and ensure they get a fair deal without introducing excessive regulation which would punish the majority of good landlords, force up rents and reduce choice.
Earlier in the day (11 September 2014) Housing Minister Brandon Lewis announced a new Model Tenancy Agreement that will help tenants to agree longer tenancies with their landlords to give them more stability.
A new industry Code of Practice was also introduced making clear the legal requirements and best practice, leaving landlords in no doubt about their responsibilities to their tenants.