Revenge eviction if you ask for repairs

If you rent privately you could be protected from eviction if you complain to your landlord about repairs or poor conditions.

What is a revenge eviction?

A revenge or retaliatory eviction is when a landlord tries to evict you after you report repairs or complain about conditions in your home.

This usually affects private tenants with an assured shorthold tenancy as it’s easier for landlords to take steps to evict them.

Assured and pre-1989 regulated tenants

You already have protection from a revenge eviction if you have an:

Your landlord must prove in court that there’s a legal reason to evict you.

Protection for assured shorthold tenants

You have some protection against revenge eviction with an assured shorthold tenancy in certain circumstances.

If you receive a section 21 notice after you complain about repairs

A court will refuse to order your eviction if all of these apply:

  • you complained to your landlord or letting agent in writing before you received a section 21 notice
  • you complained to the local council because your landlord didn't take steps to fix the problem
  • the council sent your landlord an improvement or emergency work notice

A section 21 notice served between the time of your written complaint and the council issuing an improvement or emergency work notice will also be treated as invalid.

You may also be protected if you first complained about the repairs to the council because you didn't have contact details for your landlord.

If you receive a section 21 notice after the council send notice to your landlord

A section 21 notice sent within 6 months of your landlord receiving an improvement or emergency work notice from the council will be invalid. 

When you're not protected against revenge eviction

You won’t be protected from a revenge eviction if you:

  • only complained verbally and your landlord serves a section 21 notice before you complained in writing
  • complain to the council but they take no action or serve your landlord with a hazard awareness notice or prohibition notice
  • the council suspends its improvement or emergency work notice and the landlord then serves a section 21 notice

You also won’t be protected if your landlord can prove to the court that:

  • you caused the problem you're complaining about
  • they've genuinely put the property up for sale – sales to friends, family or business partners don’t count
  • the property has been repossessed by the landlord's mortgage lender and it will be sold with vacant possession (this will not apply if your tenancy started before your landlord took out the mortgage)

Section 8 eviction

There is no protection against a revenge eviction if your landlord uses the section 8 court procedure for eviction but you may be able to challenge it for other reasons.

If your home's unfit to live in

If a court has decided your home is unfit for habitation, you'll only be protected against a revenge eviction if the council served an improvement or emergency works notice.


If you are a lodger, you do not have any protection against a revenge eviction.

Your landlord only has to give you reasonable notice to leave when they want to evict you.

Ask the council for help if you're facing eviction

Still need advice?

Contact a Shelter adviser online or by phone

Last updated 20 Mar 2019 | © Shelter

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