Liberal Democrat MP for Brent Central Sarah Teather has announced she is going to table a Private Members’ Bill to stop “retaliatory evictions”.
Tenants’ campaign groups have coined the phrase “retaliatory evictions” for when a landlord issues a section 21 notice to end the tenancy of a tenant who has made a complaint or asked for repairs to the property.
Housing charity Shelter claims 213,000 people a year are evicted or served with an eviction notice after complaining to their landlord about a problem that was not their responsibility. It says 12% of tenants have not asked for repairs because they fear eviction.
Every year, backbench MPs can enter what’s known as the Private Members’ Ballot. Sarah Teather was one of 20 MPs selected in this year’s ballot, which took place earlier this month.
Her Bill would stop retaliatory evictions which she claims are a particular problem in Brent. There are 33,000 private rented properties in the borough, and Sarah’s constituency of Brent Central has one of the highest numbers of private renters in the country.
Teather said: “It’s completely wrong that some rogue landlords evict tenants simply because they ask for repairs to be carried out.
“Everyone should have somewhere comfortable and safe to live. But all too often, tenants put up with things like damp, dangerous electrical fittings and mould because they are too scared to complain.
“This bill could make a real difference to 1.3 million renting families in England. I hope my colleagues in Parliament get behind it and turn it into law.”
Campbell Robb, Shelter’s chief executive, said: “This Bill is a fantastic opportunity to put an end to unfair evictions, and we’re thrilled that alongside Sarah Teather, politicians from all parties are committed to this.
“No one should have to live in a home that is a danger to their health and well-being, let alone live with the fear of being thrown out if they complain to their landlord.
“With over 200,000 people having faced unfair evictions in the last year alone, it’s great that politicians are starting to take a stand for England’s nine million renters.”
But landlords shouldn’t be over-concerned that the Bill will become law - Private Members’ Bills rarely make it on to the statute books.