The Government has published amendments to the Deregulation Bill that will extend existing restrictions on a landlord’s powers to evict.
The measures include protecting tenants against the practice of retaliatory eviction, in instances where they have raised a legitimate complaint about the condition of the property and a local authority has issued a notice confirming that the repair needs to be carried out to avoid a risk to health and safety.
Ian Fletcher, British Property Federation Director of Policy, said: “Landlords will be pleased to see this replacement amendment, which seeks to ensure that tenants who have legitimate complaints against their landlord are able to pursue those with some protection, whilst ensuring spurious complaints cannot be used as an excuse by tenants to avoid legitimate grounds for possession. Good landlords will support the Government’s desire to pinpoint those who are pursuing bad and often criminal practice.”
However, Chris Norris, Head of Policy at the National Landlords Association, was not as welcoming of the amendments.
“Everyone deserves a decent home and no one will argue that tenants must feel able to raise issues with their landlords without the fear of losing their home,” he said. “But we have yet to see any credible evidence of a problem significant to justify the need for additional legislation and we strongly believe that the changes represent a politically timed reaction to fear and anecdote, rather than a confirmation of commonplace poor practice.
“At best this is will be a burdensome nuisance for the majority of good landlords. At worst it will further mask the actions of criminals who abuse their tenants, while regulators struggle to differentiate between those in genuine need and vexatious troublemakers.”