Landlords beware: prepare for new level of tenant protection against eviction

 

New regulations will mean landlords may need to tread carefully when evicting tenants – but good landlords have nothing to fear

Landlords are being urged to put procedures in place now to avoid facing hurdles when new regulations come into play in October 2018.

The Deregulation Act 2015 sets out provisions “designed to protect tenants against unfair eviction where they have raised a legitimate complaint about the condition of their home”, according to the government’s website.

This provision currently only applies to shorthold tenancy agreements entered since 1 October 2015, but come October 2018 will apply to any assured shorthold tenancy in the UK.

Know your rights

Danielle Hughes, a solicitor at Kirwans law firm, said: “Landlords may be shocked to discover that tenants could potentially successfully fight a claim for possession based on what has until recently been known as the “non-fault” eviction process. This defence can not only invalidate a section 21 Housing Act notice and lead to the judge striking out a claim, but can also prevent a new section 21 notice being served for six months.”

A Section 21 notice of seeking possession can be used by landlords to evict tenants either after a fixed term tenancy ends – if there’s a written contract – or during a tenancy with no fixed end date, known as a ‘periodic’ tenancy.

According to the government website, the types of issues tenants can legally complain about under the protection of the Act are those that “might cause a potential risk of harm to the health or safety of the tenant, or a family member”.

Hughes advises that landlords’ best bet is to ensure issues with the condition of the property do not arise in the first place. She says keeping the property in a good state of repair is vital to minimise the risk of housing disrepair claims from tenants, or even hazard notices being served by the council in extreme cases.

 

 

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Landlords beware: prepare for new level of tenant protection against eviction

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