Retaliation or revenge evictions are a type of eviction in which a tenant is evicted from a property due to a disagreement with a landlord as if they have requested repairs but the landlord doesn’t want to comply.
These types of eviction aren’t always legal but they certainly can be used in the process of a landlord being immoral or doing business without considering the law.
As a result, it is vital you read the rest of this article so you can work out how you can evict a tenant under section 21 legally and without being unethical as your rights as a landlord should still be respected.
Having said this, the law around section 21 is changing due to the elimination of no fault eviction so it is not long until these types of evictions will become rarer and rarer.
What is a retaliatory (or revenge) eviction?
A retaliatory eviction is where there is a property with a tenant in it and the tenant is evicted after a tenant complains. The complaint may be legitimate or they may be purposely being difficult. Either way, it is vital a landlord approaches a retaliation eviction carefully.
In the future, with new changes to section 21, it is likely retaliation evictions will become less common as the eviction is likely to become a lot harder to do. Even if there is a break clause in place in an Assured Tenancy Shorthold (AST).
In 2015, there was a change to the law that said a landlord cannot do a retaliation eviction if it is proven there is a breach in the tenancy agreement between a landlord and tenant.
For instance, if there is a landlord who doesn’t do the correct electrical safety checks and they cannot show the electrical safety certificate to a tenant then it is likely the landlord will not be able to evict a tenant.
When does a retaliation eviction apply?
A retaliation eviction is an eviction in which a landlord removes a tenant from their home because they want to and because the tenant is seen as a lot of effort to maintain. This is why it is sometimes referred to as a no fault eviction notice.
Having said this, there is a chance that the landlord is evicting a tenant for a less sinister reason such as if they want to let the property out to someone else or they simply want to get the tenant out for the home so they can sell it.
This is why it is very hard to prove that a retaliation eviction is actually retaliatory and even if it is explicit that it is retaliatory such as if the landlord has expressed their intent to get rid of a tenant for complaining.
If the landlord does it at the right time during the tenancy agreement when there is a break clause then the eviction will likely go ahead anyway.
What is a good example of a retaliatory eviction?
As an example of retaliatory evictions that could occur, if there is a property that doesn’t have the right gas safety information and the tenant asks for it but the landlord cannot show them proof of the certificate in 30 days, then the landlord is in breach of their tenancy agreement.
Some landlords will then attempt to remove a tenant from the property through a section 21 eviction but this is against the law and a tenant should know they have the right to apply to their local authority with the information.
The local authority will then put the landlord on a caution where they are unable to evict a tenant for 6 months and they will regularly inspect the property to check if repairs have been conducted.
Other examples of where a landlord isn’t able to evict a tenant due to a breach in the tenancy agreement is if there is insufficient information about EPC regulations, if there isn’t an electrical safety certificate or if the property is unlivable due to failure to comply with section 11.
How can retaliatory eviction be prevented?
Because of the deregulations act of 2015, tenants are now encouraged to make complaints within a property without the fear of being evicted by a landlord who doesn’t want to improve their property.
However, not all tenants are completely aware of this law and neither are landlords. So, a landlord will have to be sure tenants can be evicted before they try to and they aren’t breaching a tenancy agreement.
If they are breaching a tenancy agreement then the deregulations act of 2015 will apply and a landlord will have to respond to the complaint and resolve the issue without being able to evict anyone.
In order to prevent a section 21 that is issued in retaliation from being valid, a landlord will have to be sure a tenant has reported an issue, the notice has not been responded to within two weeks and the issue has been referred to environmental health.
Also the council must also be aware and be sure there is a remedial action notice that is served to the landlord. If all these things apply then a landlord has to act on the remedial notice and they cannot evict for 6 months.
In the same way as if there is a notice for the improvement of a property in a remedial notice, there could be other situations where a landlord is prevented from evicting by the council and it isn’t as black and white as this.
Are there any exemptions to a remedial notice?
You may wonder if even if a remedial notice has been served the landlord can still override this division and evict a tenant due to specific circumstances. The answer is yes, there are exemptions.
First of all, if the notice is due to a breach in the tenancy agreement due to the use of the property then this can be reconsidered.
In addition, if the property is on the market for sale then the landlord will not have to do anything as this is seen as interrupting the sale of the property and there shouldn’t be a tenant in the property anyway.
Also, if the landlord is known to be a provider of social housing then this is another reason for the notice that is served remedially to ve invalid and the landlord will instead have to bring this up with the council.
Finally, whenever a section 21 notice is issued and there is a mortgage on the property and the mortgage is in need of repossession from the bank then the remedial notice is invalid as the bank has the overriding decision to take ownership.
What are the grounds in which you can evict a tenant?
The Housing Act of 1988 allows landlords to evict tenants for two main reasons. Sections 21 and 8 of the act are concerned with this eviction and are currently the only way in which it is legal to evict tenants.
Let us begin with Section 21 which is a non-fault eviction and the notice is issued to tenants at the end of their fixed term agreement This fixed term is usually 6 months as this is the minimum it can be with an AST.
It simply requests that they vacate the property if the landlord does not intend to renew the tenancy but landlords must meet certain requirements before serving this notice in order for it to be valid. For the exact rules click here.
The landlord also cannot serve a section 21 notice on a tenant who has received an improvement notice or an emergency remedial action notice from the local authority for six months after the notice has been served as discussed.
When looking at Section 8 on the other hand, the regulations are based on the tenant’s fault and can be issued at any time during the fixed term or beyond.
The 1988 Act contains several grounds on which landlords can serve section 8 notices and if they are satisfied that the grounds are valid then the landlord can issue the notice and evict a tenant sometimes with or without court order.
It is strongly advised to seek help from a legal expert and also look at the laws surrounding section 8 too. Some grounds for eviction are mandatory grounds such as if the tenant damages a property or has rent arrears.
However, others are less severe breaches of a tenancy agreement and you will have to go to court in order to validate the section 8 and make sure the tenant is able to be evicted without a problem and also pay court costs.
What can a landlord do in order to make sure they’re protected from problematic tenants?
Landlords should undertake rigorous referencing checks before awarding the lease and visit the property on a frequent basis throughout the tenancy to guarantee a successful tenancy.
They should also solve any repair concerns as soon as possible and have any necessary inspections, such as those for petrol and electricity, performed by certified personnel.
If the renter is not properly caring for the property, landlords should remind them of their responsibility and detail any concerns that need to be addressed.
Landlords can deliver a Section 8 Notice under the Housing Act 1988 if the tenant’s usage violates the rental agreement. If the agreement allows it, this notification can be sent throughout the defined term.
How can a tenant make sure they aren’t a victim of a retaliatory eviction?
Tenants should express any maintenance concerns to their landlords in writing so that there is a record of it and the landlord must reply within 14 days of receiving the complaint and begin repairing the property.
If the landlord does not reply within this deadline, the tenant can contact the Local Authorities and seek for help in demanding that the landlord perform the necessary repairs.
To ensure that the repairs are completed, the Local Authorities may issue an improvement notice or an emergency remedial action notice to the landlord.
If a renter believes they are being subjected to retribution eviction, they should obtain legal counsel promptly and produce evidence of the same.
In conclusion, retaliatory evictions occur when a tenant is evicted from a property owing to a dispute with the landlord, which may or may not be lawful.
But, recent modifications in Section 21 will make this more difficult. If there is a breach in the lease agreement, a landlord cannot remove a tenant for retaliatory eviction, and the tenant can submit the problem to the local council.
To avoid retaliatory eviction, a tenant must disclose the problem, and the landlord must ensure that the renter is not in violation of the rental agreement before evicting the tenant.
A retaliatory eviction would occur if the landlord does not have the necessary gas safety information and the tenant requests it, and the landlord is unable to provide proof of the certificate within 30 days.
Do retaliatory evictions have to involve a lawyer?
Retaliatory evictions don’t necessarily have to involve a lawyer, but it’s advisable to seek legal advice to understand your rights and responsibilities
How long does a retaliatory eviction take?
The duration of a retaliatory eviction case can vary depending on the complexity of the situation and the legal process. It may take several weeks to months
Will a retaliatory eviction cost money?
Pursuing a retaliatory eviction may involve legal fees and costs, such as court fees. The expenses can vary based on the specific circumstances and the need for legal representation