LibLink: Olly Grender on protecting tenants from wrongful eviction

olly grenderOlly Grender has been writing on this subject on Huffington Post. She writes:

The Lib Dems have a good track record on fighting for tenants against wrongful evictions. Sarah Teather successfully pushed for legal protections against ‘revenge evictions’ when we were in Government, to stop tenants losing their home if they asked for safety repairs to be done.

We got that law passed despite determined attempts from Tory backbenchers to keep the power firmly in the hands of landlords.

Now there is another opportunity to protect tenants. The Government is attempting to give landlords the power to evict tenants on the basis that they have ‘abandoned’ the property, if they have not paid rent for eight weeks or responded to three notices. If those conditions are met, the landlord could reclaim possession within 12 weeks.

She claims this could lead to unintentional evictions, if someone is in hospital or away visiting relatives for an extended period, or could be exploited by unscrupulous landlords to evict people illegally.

In a small number of cases, landlords may find their home abandoned and wish to reclaim it so they can let it out to someone else. But the percentage of private renting households this relates to, according to their own figures, is just 0.04%, just 1,750 tenancies out of 4.4 million. Existing laws already work, Sections 8 and 21 and something called “implied surrender”. This new measure is a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

The Housing and Planning Bill does contain a number of measures which will protect tenants from rogue landlords, so the abandonment section is a bit of an anomaly.

Our strong team of Lib Dems fighting the Bill in the Lords will continue to put pressure on the Government to do this [remove this section]. With homelessness rising at an alarming rate, more unnecessary evictions are the last thing we need.

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This entry was posted in LibLink.
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