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Retaliatory eviction bombshell

A news article published today on Property Industry Eye had me read the new legislation on retaliatory evictions again.

And it is a bombshell, indeed!

The official guidance on retaliatory evictions explains that tenants will be able to avoid eviction for 6 months by going directly to the council regarding disrepair instead of first having to raise a complaint to their landlord (footnote on page 10).

The article claims that this contradict the new law.

But does it really?

Having read section 33 of the Deregulation Act 2015 in that new light, I think that the guidance is in fact correct.

This is because section 33(1) stands on its own:

(1) Where a relevant notice is served in relation to a dwelling-house in England, a section 21 notice may not be given in relation to an assured shorthold tenancy of the dwelling-house—
(a) within six months beginning with the day of service of the relevant notice, or
(b) where the operation of the relevant notice has been suspended, within six months beginning with the day on which the suspension ends.

A “relevant notice” is defined as:

“relevant notice” means—
(a)a notice served under section 11 of the Housing Act 2004 (improvement notices relating to category 1 hazards),
(b)a notice served under section 12 of that Act (improvement notices relating to category 2 hazards), or
©a notice served under section 40(7) of that Act (emergency remedial action);

Therefore, indeed if the council has served notice on the landlord then no section 21 notice may be given for 6 months whether or not the tenant had first raised the issue with the landlord.

It seems that this important aspect has been missed by all commentators so far. This is a further proof, if needed be, that the law must be very, very, very carefully analysed.

However, tenants should still report issues in writing to their landlords because this can prevent a valid section 21 notice from being given after they have complained but before the council serves notice in the landlord.
This is as per section 33(2), which has really be the focus of discussions so far.