Revenge eviction sounds like a family law problem. It isn’t. It is something that tenants face when their private landlord retaliates when a tenant tries to enforce their rights as a tenant and their landlord uses revenge eviction to get rid of a tenant who has pursued their rights. Landlord and tenant solicitors say revenge eviction is common in London and the South East as rental accommodation is in such high demand that landlords know it won't be a problem to get their property re-tenanted. In this article, our landlord and tenant solicitors look at what revenge eviction is and what tenants can do about a retaliatory eviction.
Online and London Landlord and Tenant Law Solicitors
What is revenge eviction?
Revenge eviction is when a landlord tries to evict a tenant in retaliation for the tenant asking for necessary repairs to be carried out at their rental property or because the tenant has said that they will report the landlord because of the housing conditions at the property. For example, the landlord may not have arranged for gas safety checks to be carried out.
As landlord and tenant solicitors we know there are sometimes two sides to a story; maybe the landlord didn’t sort out the dampness or repair the boiler because the tenant hadn’t paid their rent on time. However, revenge eviction does occur when the tenant has fully complied with their assured shorthold tenancy agreement and they are simply being penalised for asking for a boiler that works so they can have hot water or central heating or because they are asthmatic and can't cope with the mould on the walls as a damp problem hasn’t been resolved.
Are you at risk of revenge eviction?
You are at greater risk of a revenge eviction if you are a tenant on an assured shorthold tenancy and your landlord is either taking your repair requests as a personal affront or a professional landlord believes that they could get a tenant in who won't raise issues and/or who will pay a higher rent.
With an assured shorthold tenancy agreement, a landlord can send you a section 21 notice to start the eviction process. The key points about the section 21 eviction process are:
- The tenant doesn’t need to have breached their tenancy agreement or done something wrong to receive a section 21 notice
- The landlord does not need to explain to you or to the court why they have started the eviction proceedings and why they want you out
If you are a tenant who has received a section 21 notice as part of revenge eviction court proceedings it is important to take early landlord and tenant legal advice to see if you can challenge the section 21 notice.
Challenging section 21 revenge eviction proceedings
As a tenant, you may not be able to challenge a section 21 notice because you think your landlord is penalising you for sticking up for your legal rights or because you got the landlord to comply with the tenancy agreement. That’s because in many section 21 cases the court won't look at why the landlord is evicting you if the landlord has served a valid section 21 notice.
Not all section 21 notices are valid and eviction proceedings can be challenged if you are served with an invalid notice. For example, a section 21 notice may be invalid if:
- The landlord did not place your deposit in one of three approved deposit protection schemes or failed to give you prescribed information about your deposit in accordance with the regulations
- The landlord did not provide you with a gas safety certificate each year of the assured shorthold tenancy in accordance with the gas safety regulations
- The rental property is a house in multiple occupation and the landlord does not have the necessary house in multiple occupation licence from the local authority
- You complained to the local authority about the condition of your rented property and the local authority served either an improvement notice or emergency works notice on your landlord within six months of the section 21 notice. However, the rules on valid section 21 notices can be complicated because if the local authority only sends a hazard awareness notice or take no action about your complaint your landlord can serve a valid section 21 notice
- You got a section 21 notice after you wrote to your landlord about repairs or conditions at your rental property and your landlord did not respond adequately to your complaint within 14 days and you, therefore, complained to the environmental health department and the local authority served either an improvement notice or emergency remedial action notice on your landlord. The rules can get complicated as a landlord can still pursue the section 21 notice where the local authority suspends the notice or the landlord is genuinely trying to sell the property or the landlord has not paid the mortgage and the mortgage company, therefore, wants action
If the section 21 notice is valid the landlord cannot just evict you. There are two options, either leave voluntarily or wait until the conclusion of the eviction proceedings which may take some months to complete. During the eviction proceedings, the landlord cannot harass you or enter the property other than in accordance with the tenancy agreement. You should continue to pay rent and comply with the terms of the tenancy agreement.
How can the landlord and tenant team at OTS Solicitors help you?
Do you think your landlord is trying to evict you as a revenge eviction? If so, you probably are not only worried about your tenancy rights but aggrieved at the potential disruption to your home life when all you did was get the landlord to comply with the tenancy agreement or reported genuine repairs or problems with the property.
The landlord and tenant team at OTS Solicitors, led by Nollienne Alparaque, can help advise you on whether the section 21 notice is valid for your type of tenancy agreement and if in your circumstances the notice can be challenged.
The team can also help you pursue deposit disputes and repair disputes.
Online and London Landlord and Tenant Law Solicitors