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Revenge eviction if you ask for repairs

A revenge eviction is when a private landlord evicts a tenant who asks for repairs or complains about bad housing conditions.

It's sometimes called retaliatory eviction.

Video: Will my landlord evict me if I complain?

Video transcript

Will my landlord evict me if I ask for repairs or complain to environmental health?

If you rent privately, it can be quite easy for a landlord to take steps to end your tenancy.

Research from Citizens Advice shows that a formal complaint about repairs does increase the chances of being issued with a section 21 eviction notice.

Does this mean I have to put up with bad conditions in my home?

You should not have to.

Reasonable landlords will not just evict you because you ask for repairs.

If you do receive a section 21 notice, a number of things could make it invalid.

For example:

  • your deposit is not protected

  • you have not been given a gas safety certificate

  • your landlord needs a licence but does not have one

  • the council has given your landlord an improvement notice

Do not put up with bad conditions.

Speak to your council’s private rented housing team to see if they can help.

Our adviser talks about revenge eviction and what you can do about bad conditions in your home. [Video length: 00:59]

Some tenants are more at risk

Assured shorthold tenants are most at risk of revenge eviction. Your landlord can use the section 21 eviction process without giving a reason. But you could have a defence in some situations.

Lodgers have less protection from eviction than tenants. You can be evicted without a reason.

Regulated (protected) tenants or assured tenants are less at risk. This is because your landlord must show a reason for eviction.

Eviction is a legal process and can take several months.

The process usually starts with a section 21 notice.

These kind of no fault evictions will be banned in the future but the law has not changed yet.

Defence against a revenge section 21

Your landlord cannot give you a section 21 notice for 6 months if the council gives them an:

  • improvement notice

  • emergency works notice

An emergency works notice is sometimes called an emergency remedial action notice.

The council must send you a copy of these types of notice.

An improvement notice will mention section 11 or 12 of the Housing Act 2004.

An emergency works notice will mention section 40 of the Housing Act 2004.

Your landlord can give you a section 21 if the council suspend or withdraw their notice.

If you got a section 21 before the council's notice

Your landlord cannot use the section 21 notice to evict you as long as all these things have happened:

  1. you complained to your landlord about your housing conditions before the section 21

  2. your landlord did not properly deal with your complaint within 14 days

  3. you then complained to the council's environmental health team about the problem

  4. the council gave your landlord an improvement or emergency works notice

When a section 21 could still be valid

Your landlord could still give you a valid section 21 if the council:

  • take no action or informal action

  • suspend or withdraw their notice

  • only give your landlord a hazard awareness notice

  • give a notice because of damage you caused

Your landlord can also use a section 21 if the property is on the market.

Your landlord's mortgage lender can give a section 21 if the property has been repossessed or a receiver has been appointed.

Even if the notice is valid, the full eviction process takes a few months.

Stop a revenge eviction

Tell your landlord if they cannot use the section 21 notice to evict you.

A section 21 notice might not be valid for many reasons.

You can ask your council for help. They can speak to your landlord for you.

Copy our template

You can send this in an email to your landlord:

[Use the subject: Section 21 notice not valid]

You gave me a section 21 notice because I complained about repairs.

The council gave you an [improvement or emergency works notice] on [date].

This means the section 21 notice is not valid.

You cannot give me another section 21 for 6 months from the date of the council's notice.

Tell the court you have a defence

You need to tell the court that the section 21 notice is not valid.

Send a copy of the council's notice back to the court with your defence form.

Ask for a hearing if your landlord uses the accelerated procedure.

You can get legal help to do this.

Your landlord must follow the legal eviction process.

Most private tenants can only be evicted by court bailiffs.

It could be illegal eviction if your landlord or agent tries to force you out.

You could be evicted with a different notice

You are only protected from revenge eviction if the landlord uses a section 21.

Assured shorthold tenants can also be evicted with a section 8 notice.

Your landlord needs a reason to use a section 8, like rent arrears.

You can often challenge a section 8 notice in court.

Last updated: 26 April 2024

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