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Law against revenge evictions extended to all Assured Shorthold Tenancies

From 1 October 2018, the government’s clampdown on so called “revenge evictions” has been extended to all existing assured shorthold tenancies, including those which pre-date the commencement of the Deregulation Act 2015.

The regime introduced by section 33 of the Deregulation Act 2015 is intended to prevent landlords from serving section 21 notices to recover possession of property let on an AST, if they are serving that notice as a reaction to the tenant having complained about the condition of their property.

Until this month, section 33 only applied to new tenancies created after the Deregulation Act 2015 came into force on 1 October 2015.  From 1 October 2018, it will apply to all ASTs irrespective of when they were entered into.

To take advantage of this statutory protection, a tenant will have to have made a written complaint to their landlord about the condition of the property, and then taken the complaint to their local housing authority, before obtaining an Improvement Notice or a Notice Requiring Emergency Remedial Action under the Housing Act 2004.

Our blog in February 2017 highlighted that in the first 18 months of the new regime fewer than half of the local authorities in England have been called upon to serve Improvement Notices to prevent so-called “revenge evictions”.  Although the  law will now apply to a larger number of ASTs, tenants need to be better advised as to their statutory rights, and as to the advantages of escalating legitimate complaints to their local housing authority, if more tenants are to benefit from the government’s clampdown.