Here’s How You Can Help Make It Illegal For Your Landlord To Evict You For Complaining About Something

There's a new Bill making it illegal for landlords to revenge evict. Show your support, because it could be you...


by Stevie Martin |
Published on

Sarah* lived in a £700 per month rented flat in north London, which was covered in mould. The landlord controlled the heating, meaning it was constantly freezing and, when she complained about it, he revenge-evicted her. 'I was ill for three months because of the cold and the mould. When I came back after Christmas, I had to throw out a third of my wardrobe because they were ruined,' she tells The Debrief. 'He told me it was my fault, threatened me with legal action and evicted me.'

With only 21% of UK twentysomethings able to afford to own their own home and with so many of us renting, the one thing we should be able to rely on is for a landlord to do his job properly. Forking over £700 per month for a flat so mouldy it ruins clothes and then getting kicked out for complaining about it should be a criminal offence, which is why MP Sarah Teather is pushing for a new bill to make it illegal for landlords to serve an eviction notice to tenants just for asking for a broken boiler or a mouldy wall to be sorted out.

'Most landlords wouldn't dream of evicting someone because they've complained about maintenance but you don't know if you've got one of the dodgy ones until you make that complaint,' says Alex Hilton, the head of the aptly named lobbying group Generation Rent, who are supporting Teather's campaign. 'Millions of tenants are afraid of getting their damp fixed, for example, just in case their landlord turns on them.'

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If the bill gets through Parliament, it'd be illegal for landlords to serve an eviction notice if the tenant had contacted the local council and they had agreed that the repairs needed to be made. It's not going to solve the problem of the arsehole landlord overnight, but it's definitely a start. 'This is just one tiny thing and, frankly, it's the only thing we can crowbar out of this Government right now,' Wilton argues. 'And it's worth having. I've had so many dodgy landlords, from [those charging] hidden inventory fees to the normality with which they take your deposit, and this is a step in the right direction.'

Sarah's landlord refused to acknowledge that her heating wasn't working, sent nobody round to fix it and, when she reported the mould problem, informed her she 'should keep the window open' despite the fact she was ill from the intense cold. 'He still claimed the heating was working fine and he said it was me who caused it,' she recalls. 'I went to the council to speak to someone, sent numerous emails, and when the council contacted him because I'd fallen ill, I got an eviction letter,' she says. 'It's not fair on people.'

Thankfully, she's now found a flat with proper heating, but more vulnerable people won't fare as well. 'If I can get ripped off – me, who knows all about this sort of stuff – then think about those who are forced into private renting because they're homeless, or those who are disabled, or those who can't speak English well,' Alex says. 'Landlords shouldn't have the power to kick you out just for needing something fixed.'

You can sign the online petition against revenge evictions on Generation Rent's website and, considering more than one in three rented properties in the UK have something wrong with them – from leaky taps to broken boilers – it might be worth your while. Because one day it's likely you could be saddled with an arsehole landlord. And you'll kick yourself for not doing your bit.

Sign the petition here

*Name has been changed

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Picture: Lukasz Wierzbowski

*name changed to protect anonymity

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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