Baroness Cathy Bakewell writes… Lib Dem Lords act to stop retaliatory evictions

Yesterday, we moved forward in protecting vulnerable tenants by protecting them from the questionable practice of retaliatory evictions. This is the culmination of a process started by Sarah Teather MP on 28th November when she secured a private Members Bill on Tenancies (Reform) to deal with the problems caused by Retaliatory Evictions.  Sadly there were members in the Commons that day who were themselves landlords, did not share the ethos of the Bill and talked it out of time.  So it was a great privilege for Lib Dems in the Lords to be able to support the essence of Sarah’s Bill in the amendment we debated yesterday. Sarah Teather deserves a lot of credit for her efforts to end this pointless suffering. And for the work she did in the commons to stand up to right wing Tories all too willing to see this continue.

The amendment is not about penalising conscientious landlords, nor is it about protecting bad tenants who do not respect the property they are renting.  It is about protecting the rights of both groups and giving security to tenants, who when reporting a fault which affects their ability to live happily in their home, will not dread an eviction notice landing on the doormat as a result.  It gives a clear signal to those landlords who currently ignore the state of their properties, that this is no longer acceptable.  If such landlords engage in a regular programme of maintenance, they are likely to have a much better relationship with their tenants, reduce the incidence of costly tenancy turnover and be less likely to face expensive repair bills for major incidents, such as collapsed ceilings due to persistent leaks.

This is a win/win scenario whereby tenants can feel confident that if they report a fault which affects their ability to enjoy their home as they should, they will not be evicted, but their concerns listened to and, hopefully acted on.  For their part it does not penalise landlords who provide routine maintenance to their properties and does not hold them to ransom by irresponsible tenants who do not look after the property they rent.

This is a measure which is long overdue and one which has been championed and is supported by CAB and Shelter. Without the Lib Dems in the Commons and Lords the Government wouldn’t be putting an end to this unfair use of landlords’ power. This is another step towards a fairer society that would not have happened without us in the Coalition.

* Baroness Cathy Bakewell is the Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson on DEFRA.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Jayne Mansfield 12th Feb '15 - 5:20pm

    I am not sure what it means for MP’s in the commons to talk something out of time, but given reports that 1/3 of MPs are landlords, am I right to assume that self interest may have played a part here?

    Well done Sarah Teather.

  • Rachel Anne Jacobson 22nd Jun '15 - 11:08am

    I have a tennant who will not allow me access to my property will not allow builders access to do essential repairs and will not allow the council to get rid of a rat infestation caused by her When I had the garden cleared of overgrowth because of complaints from neighbors she called the police and to add insult to injury when I took her to court for possession she sued me for disrepair and distress and the judge ruled in her favour and made me pay her £2800 I have been fighting her for four years And in the beginning she asked to rent my cottage for 3 months because was moving to Cornwall to be near her daughter. There is a loophole in the law which needs to protect landlords from people like this .

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