By Gordon Chaston
Housing campaigners are calling on MP’s to vote on a bill to block retaliatory evictions against private renters.
The Tenancies (Reform) Bill, a private members bill introduced by Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather, hopes to delay rogue landlords from evicting tenants who request repairs. Currently landlords are able to issue Section 21 notices giving tenants two months to vacate their homes without reason.
Activists are concerned about low turn out for next Friday’s vote when MP’s are normally at their constituencies and are asking local residents to pressure them to be available and vote in favour of the bill.
Hackney Renters wrote on their website: “Of all the injustices suffered by private renters on a regular basis, being evicted for making a complaint about your home is one of the worst.
“Until now those in power have refused to believe this problem of ‘retaliatory’ or ‘revenge eviction’ really goes on – as a group that supports renters in Hackney, we know it does.”
However Residential Landlords’ Association chairman Alan Ward warned the bill will place an unfair burden on landlords and make it difficult to evict bad tenants.
He said: “This proposal would cause serious damage to a flourishing sector which is providing much-needed homes for rent. The overwhelming majority of landlords do not and will not evict tenants for no reason.
“But landlords need to be able to deal with nightmare tenants who cause misery in their communities and those who just won’t pay their rent. Removing their freedom to do so would be a charter for anti-social tenants.”
A letting agent from Radiant Property, in Deptford, South London, said he was generally in favour of such a bill, and believed there should be a balanced approach, with protection for both landlords and tenants.