The House of Lords has given a glimmer of hope to campaigners seeking to end ‘revenge evictions’ by private sector landlords fed up with whinging tenants.
Campaign group Generation Rent tweeted earlier today that “Last night House of Lords passed an amendment to end Revenge Evictions – great news for renters across the country”.
Shelter welcomed the news but warned of a time-honoured parliamentary race against the clock.
“The government passed an amendment to the Deregulation Bill that would protect renters in England from revenge evictions – when someone is evicted simply for complaining about conditions in their home,” it said. “The bill will become law once it’s voted through by parliament – but with only several weeks left until parliament dissolves (30 March), the clock is ticking.”
Shelter noted that last year “a bill to end revenge evictions with cross-party support failed to pass because two MPs talked through the debate in parliament”.
Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter said: “We are thrilled that – after a bill with cross-party support was blocked last year – the government has taken a stand for England’s nine million renters today by proposing a change in the law to end revenge evictions…If this becomes law, hundreds of thousands of people will no longer face the appalling choice between living in a home that puts them or their children in danger, or risking eviction if they complain.
“The government now has one last chance to protect renters from revenge evictions once and for all. Politicians must continue to support this change and make sure it passes before the next election, so that revenge evictions will finally become a thing of the past.”
Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said: “No renter should be evicted simply for complaining about bad conditions…This is positive news for people afraid to complain to their landlord about poor conditions in their home, but we know that retaliatory evictions aren’t the only problem faced by private sector renters. In the last year more than 80,000 people came to us suffering a problem with a privately rented home. People in the private rented sector are woefully under-protected, and our ‘Settled and Safe’ campaign is calling for a better deal for renters.’
Not everyone was happy, though.
The CLA, which represents rural landlords, expressed dismay that a new regulation targeted at tackling the problem of retaliatory eviction has been “rushed” through parliament.
CLA president Henry Robinson said: “We support action to prevent retaliatory evictions but this law will not stop bad landlords evicting tenants. It is much more likely to give tenants that are damaging the property or not paying their rent scope to delay eviction. As a result it will cause significant uncertainty for thousands of responsible landlords throughout rural communities.
“By forcing through this law, ministers risk setting back significantly the opportunity for putting in place measures that will tackle the minority of bad landlords that we agree should be targeted with regulation.”