A series of articles looking at the new rules regarding section 21 notices – applicable in England only – for tenancies created after 1 October 2015.
Tenants organisations have been talking about retaliatory eviction for a long time – the practice carried out by some landlords of evicting their tenants when they ask for expensive (or indeed any) repair work to be done.
So what does it say?
Basically – if a tenant makes a complaint, a landlord must give an adequate response within 14 days. An adequate response is where the landlord states what he is going to do to resolve the problem and his time limit for dealing with it.
If the tenant THEN goes to the local authority and makes a complaint AND they serve a notice, the landlord cannot serve a section 21 notice for 6 months.
Or if the local authority serve the notice anyway, no valid section 21 notice can then be served for 6 months. But it’s all right (for the landlord) if the s21 notice was served before the complaints or (if there were no complaints) before the local authority notice was served on the landlord.
Some interesting points:
It is only the service of the local authority notice which triggers the 6 month prohibition for section 21 notices.
So, unless the Court of Appeal is able to argue otherwise in due course, the mere fact of the landlord failing to give an ‘adequate response’ will not help the tenant. The landlords notice will still be valid.
The whole anti-retaliatory eviction structure therefore, depends on the local authority notice – nothing else. This must be one of the following
(a) a notice served under section 11 of the Housing Act 2004 (improvement notices relating to category 1 hazards),
(b) a notice served under section 12 of that Act (improvement notices relating to category 2 hazards), or
(c) a notice served under section 40(7) of that Act (emergency remedial action);
As local authorities and their environmental health officers are very pushed for time (local authorities having had to cut their staff to the bone due to savage cuts to their budget) they are unlikely to be willing to support ‘try-ons’ by nightmare tenants wanting to stay on when their landlords are desperate to get them out.
This isn’t to say that this will never happen – just that it is very unlikely. Very.
Find out more
I did an interview with Rajeev Nayyar of Fixflo recently which has been published as part of our Landlord Law TV series (episode two) which is very informative.
You will find it here.