Research confirms link between tenant complaints and revenge eviction

by | 12 November 2018 | Citizens Advice, Retford, Worksop

Private renters in England who formally complain about issues such as damp and mould in their home have an almost one-in-two (46%) chance of being issued an eviction notice within six months, according to a report released by Citizens Advice. The charity estimates this has affected about 141,000 tenants since laws attempting to ban revenge evictions were introduced in 2015. The research found complaining dramatically increases a renter’s chance of getting an eviction notice when compared to people who do not complain.
Tenants who had received a section 21 ‘no-fault eviction’ notice were:

  • Twice as likely to have complained to their landlord
  • Five times more likely to have gone to their local authority
  • Eight times more likely to have complained to a redress scheme

The charity argues the figures prove 2015 laws designed to prevent families and other tenants in the private rented sector from being evicted after raising a complaint have not worked. The research includes a unique survey of council Environmental Health Officers (EHO) that found three in every four EHOs saw tenants receive a no-fault eviction after complaining last year. Of the officers who had been in their role before the 2015 Act was passed, 90% said they have not seen a drop in revenge evictions.

With the private rented sector being the second most common tenure in England with 4.7 million households — including 1.7 million families with dependent children — Citizens Advice is calling for laws around tenant security to be significantly strengthened.

Citizens Advice is calling for three-year tenancies to be written into law, and for these tenancies to include limits on rent rises to prevent landlords from effectively evicting tenants through pricing them out, no break clause at six months, and allowing tenants to leave contracts early if the landlord doesn’t uphold legal responsibilities. The charity also believes if three-year tenancies are agreed, the government should then review grounds for section 8 evictions — normally used when tenants are antisocial or fail to pay rent — to allow landlords to recover the property if they choose to sell up.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: “The chance of a family being evicted from their home for complaining about a problem shouldn’t carry the same odds as the toss of a coin. Those living in substandard properties must have greater protection against eviction when they complain.”
People who are concerned about their rights can contact Citizens Advice. A drop-in service at the Worksop office based in The Annexe, Queens Building, Potter Street, Worksop (next to the Savoy Cinema) is available:

  • Monday — 9.30am to 3.00pm
  • Wednesday — 9.30am to 3.00pm
  • Friday — 9.30am to 1.00pm

Or at the Retford office at 17b The Square, Retford, it is available:

  • Tuesday — 10.00am to 2.00pm
  • Thursday — 10.00am to 2.00pm