The Deregulation Act (2015) has so far seen shorthold tenancy agreement (ASTs) affected by the change in law, which protects tenants against retaliatory evictions brought about by a complaint about the condition of the property. As on 1st October 2018, all AST properties will come under The Deregulation Act.
The Deregulation Act protects against preventing retaliatory evictions in that it specifically restricts the usage of the section 21 notice used by landlords to evict tenants. It states that any landlord wishing to evict a tenant will not be able to use a Section 21 notice under these circumstances:
‘(a)before the section 21 notice was given, the tenant made a complaint in writing to the landlord regarding the condition of the dwelling-house at the time of the complaint.’
If certain protocols have not been adhered to by the landlord at the time of the complaint, the section 21 notice will be invalid:
(i)did not provide a response to the complaint within 14 days beginning with the day on which the complaint was given,
(ii)provided a response to the complaint that was not an adequate response, or
(iii)gave a section 21 notice in relation to the dwelling-house following the complaint.’
Point iii specifically refers to retaliatory evictions which come about when a landlord sends an eviction notice to their tenant after the tenant had made a request for repairs to be done, or they make a complaint about the conditions in the property.
It is apparent that some landlords are not putting in proper procedures to prevent prosecution for retaliatory evictions by failing to comply with guidelines which will become enforceable for all AST landlords from October 2018.
Tenants will be able to instruct solicitors to appeal against section 21 eviction notices in a claim for possession by using The Deregulation Act which may prove the notice to be invalid.
It should be noted, that landlords are protected should it be proven that the tenant has caused the damage, or if they are selling the property and it is a requirement that the property is empty for house viewings.
Whilst there are many factors involved in serving section 21 notices, landlords should make sure they are up to date with all changes before The Deregulation Act is enforced across all AST properties. Being mindful of all complaints and ensuring response times are kept within the 14 day time frame can be the difference between successfully issuing a section 21 notice or having it rejected, as well as disallowing you from using a section 21 notice for 6 months hence.
It is important to keep a record of all correspondence and to understand the way The Deregulation Act will affect you before serving section 21 notices.
Duncan Lewis Housing Solicitors
As a Legal 500 2017 recommended firm, Duncan Lewis Solicitors are well versed in housing matters which may affect landlords or tenants in regards to social housing, as well as issues arising with local housing authorities and housing applications. We have tailored serves for all your housing needs, including homelessness matters, neighbourhood problems and debt arising from loans, bankruptcy or mortgage/ rent arrears and have extensive experience advising on possession proceedings and illegal evictions.
If you require expert assistance on any housing matter, call Duncan Lewis Solicitors on 0333 772 0409.