William Eichler 18 June 2018

Councils failing to stop ‘revenge evictions’

Local authorities are failing to protect private renters from ‘revenge evictions’ despite new legislation designed to protect tenants.

The Deregulation Act 2015 stopped landlords serving a Section 21 eviction notice if the council had found hazards in the property and served an appropriate improvement notice on the owner.

The controversial Section 21 notice gave landlords the power to evict tenants without needing a reason.

The new regulations provided tenants with six months of protection and was meant to give them more confidence in getting their landlord to fix health and safety problems.

However, freedom of information data analysed by Generation Rent suggests a certain amount of inaction on behalf of councils.

Just one in six private tenants is getting the council's protection from a revenge eviction, the campaign group found

The FOI data came from the 100 councils which together accounted for two thirds of England's private renter population.

Of the 100 councils, 72 recorded 12,962 ‘Category 1’ hazards in 2016-17. Those councils issued improvement notices in only 2366 cases – 18%.

The data also showed that 28 of the 100 councils approached didn’t record the number of hazards found.

Many hazards will be missed in the first place as councils do not follow up every home that is complained about.

Of the 83 councils that recorded both complaints and inspections, 58,586 requests were made but councils only carried out 39,148 inspections.

Councils took 23% less formal action in the first full year that the Deregulation Act was in force than the year before, according to Generation Rent.

The number of improvement notices was down from 2959 in 2015-16. Complaints about private landlords also fell in that period, but only by 6%.

The campaign group also discovered most councils are failing to record their interactions with tenants who are facing a revenge eviction.

Only four of the 97 councils that responded on this question had logged the number of Section 21 eviction cases they dealt with in 2016-17.

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