This act was introduced, as although most tenants are happy with their accommodation, there are still some who have what might be termed rouge or criminal landlords who repeatedly fail to carry out basic repairs.
New streamlined procedures that make it easier for landlords to use a High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO) to evict residential tenants came into force on 23rd August 2020.
This legislation was introduced to protect these tenants from eviction by their landlord after requesting repairs.
From October 1st 2015 this type of eviction, which has been termed as ‘retaliatory eviction’ was deemed illegal and protections were put in place. These protections mean that a tenant can’t be evicted for requesting repairs, or within six months of requesting repairs.
What does this mean for landlords?
If a tenant requests a repair, the landlord must either carry out the repair, or respond in writing to the complaint within 14 days explaining the action they will take to fix the issue.
If the landlord does not respond, or provides an inadequate response to the tenant, such as serving an eviction notice the tenant can contact their Local Authority to request an inspection (this is known as the Health and Safety Rating System and can be found here to look at the issue with the accommodation.
What happens next?
The Local Authority have many steps they can take, these include:
issuing an Improvement notice
An improvement notice requires you to carry out work to deal with a Category 1 or 2 hazard, or both. The notice says:
- what the hazard is
- what has caused the hazard
- what work you need to do to rectify the issue
- the date when work should start (not earlier than 28 days after the notice is served) and when the work must be completed by.
A Landlord has the right to appeal the notice within 21 days.
Issuing a Notice of Emergency Remedial Action.
Emergency remedial action notices are used for category 1 hazards.
The local authority has an immediate right of access if it decides to take emergency action. If this happens, you and your landlord are served with a notice.The local authority can claim the cost of any work back from your landlord.
If either of these two actions are taken the landlord cannot evict the tenant for 6 months using the no-fault eviction procedure.
What do landlords need to do?
As with the original bill, there is always the danger that some tenants might abuse the system to prevent eviction.
If a landlord receives a complaint from a tenant, they should respond quickly and definitely within the 14 days stipulated, they should record the actions they have taken and take care to fully update the tenant with the remedial action along with timescales for the repair work to be undertaken.
David is an authorised High Court Enforcement Officer and our Director of Corporate Governance