All the Government amendments regarding Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) (see here for a detailed explanation of what they mean) and Retaliatory Eviction were approved yesterday in the last day of the Deregulation Bill’s Report Stage.
This Bill represents a double-edged sword for private landlords. On one hand it contains amendments to TDP legislation, to finally correct the issues created by the Superstrike and Charalambous legal decisions which imposed unreasonable duties on landlords with tenancies which pre-dated TDP.
On the other, the bill is being used by the Government, and Liberal Democrats in particular, as a way of resurrecting the Tenancies (Reform) Bill which had previously failed to progress to a second reading in the House of Commons due to lack of support. This bill sought to introduce a defence against Section 21 possession claims on the basis of a failure to maintain or repair a property – ending alleged ‘revenge eviction’. A (Government) briefing on the amendments can be found here. This now looks highly likely to pass into law, despite the concerns of the National Landlords Associations, Head of Policy, Chris Norris:
“Everyone deserves a decent home and no one will argue that tenants must feel able to raise issues with their landlords without the fear of losing their home. But we have yet to see any credible evidence of a problem significant to justify the need for additional legislation and we strongly believe that the changes announced today represent a politically timed reaction to fear and anecdote, rather than a confirmation of commonplace poor practice within private housing.
“The Government has been distracted from the business of ensuring that existing legislation, intended to protect tenants and landlords from genuine criminals, is enforced properly. At best this is will be a burdensome nuisance for the majority of good landlords. At worst it will further mask the actions of criminals who abuse their tenants, while regulators struggle to differentiate between those in genuine need and vexatious troublemakers.
“The Government says that the majority of good landlords will have nothing to fear but the truth is it will give unscrupulous tenants and ambulance-chasing legal firms more power to resist genuine and necessary attempts on behalf of landlords to regain lawful possession on a property”.
You can read the short debate here, for TDP, and here for Retaliatory Evictions.
The Bill now goes to Third Reading in Lords on Wednesday 4 March.