A new Tenancies (Reform) Bill that has its first reading in July 2014 has been set out to protect against tenants being evicted unfairly. Retaliatory eviction occurs when a tenant has made a complaint to their landlord about their living conditions and is evicted as a consequence.
If the new Bill comes into action the law states that tenants must be able to give solid evidence that they have been evicted after they made a complaint to their landlord. The Residential Landlord’s Association (RLA) has warned that the introduction of the new Bill could encourage the behaviour of ‘anti-social tenants’.
The RLA are concerned that the legislation could make it much more difficult for landlords to deal with nuisance tenants who they wish to evict for valid reasons, they also believe that the new Reform could ‘undermine confidence’ in the private rental sector at the time it is most needed.
There has also been some criticism of the Bill as there is no evidence to suggest that landlords have been evicting tenants when they have made complaints or suggestions of household items that need to be replaced or fixed.
Instead of creating new legislation to solve a problem which may not exist the RLA have suggested that changes need to be made to consumer rights and regulations, making tenants more aware of what their own rights are in terms of their rental property would be more effective in terms of combating retaliatory eviction.
The Tenancies (Reform) Bill has a second reading scheduled for 28th November 2014 therefore there is some time before it could come into effect however it is important that landlords are made aware of the potential changes that could effect them.
The legislation should benefit landlords who comply with health and safety regulations as it could give tenants confidence to report problems without concerns over how their landlords will react. This will fix the problem quickly before it becomes an even bigger more expensive issue to solve.
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