Revenge eviction: It's not the latest in a series of slasher flicks but a genuine threat to tenants from rogue or cowboy landlords. The prospect of their landlord evicting tenants out of pure spite is enough to keep many people from complaining about things they have every right to complain about, even if they have to live in sub-standard conditions. Fortunately, such flagrant abuse of power has not gone unnoticed by those responsible for regulating the housing market.
Keeping landlords in Line
The UK rental market is booming, and so are landlords’ egos, it seems. With house prices so high and the new restrictions on mortgage lending, many in the UK feel that renting a property is their only realistic accommodation option. At the start of 2014, rents were growing at twice the rate they were in 2012, and they rose 6.6 % throughout the course of the year. As such, buy-to-let properties are producing high yields and landlords are reaping the benefits.
So now, many landlords think they're untouchable, and they rule with an iron fist. If a tenant isn't happy with the situation, well then they can just find somewhere else to live and good luck to them. After all, there are at least five other people willing to take their place. At least, that's the way the landlords see it, and that view is reflected in the statistics. Research from the charity Shelter reveals that in 2013 and 2014, more than 200,000 people in the UK faced a revenge eviction.
The result is that many tenants live in fear of tyrannical landlords. According to a YouGov survey, 4,500 tenants claim they were too afraid to complain about issues with the property. Forty-one per cent of those surveyed were living with damp, 25% had a leaky roof and 16% had an electrical hazard. All of which are completely unacceptable conditions that buy-to-let landlords are obligated to rectify.
Help is on the way
These landlords need to be reminded that the age of feudalism is over. They are bound to respect the terms of the tenancy agreement, which dictates that the landlord is responsible for repairing and maintaining a buy-to-let property. A new law passed by the House of Lords will help ensure that they do exactly that.
The legislation stipulates that if the landlord gives notice that they will seek repossession through a section 21 notice, and it can be proven that they received a complaint from the tenant regarding the condition of the property which they did not address prior to issuing said notice, then their attempt to evict the tenant will immediately be rejected by the court. This new law has been hailed by Shelter as an important victory for tenants rights.
What else can you do to prevent being the victim of revenge evictions?
Aside from waiting for help from parliament, you can also fight back against abusive landlords by naming and shaming them on communities such as Tenants Voice. It's also important to carefully read the terms of any tenancy agreement and ensure your rights are covered, and to keep yourself in the know regarding any legislation that applies to the landlord-tenant relationship. If you want professional advice regarding tenants’ rights, don't hesitate to contact the experts at online estate agency Tepilo.