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Human Habitation law takes effect today - but not everyone is happy...

Today the long-awaited Homes (Fitness For Human Habitation) Act comes into force, pioneered by Labour MP Karen Buck and giving people on new tenancies the ability to take court action directly against landlords rather than relying on the council. 

But pressure group Generation Rent says this is not enough, as it claims that tenants who successfully use this new law to get the court to order the landlord to make their home safe, “will still not be protected from revenge eviction without their council taking action.” 

It claims that only one in every 20 renters who complains to the council about poor conditions gets protection from a revenge eviction.


The Deregulation Act 2015 prevents landlords from evicting tenants using Section 21 for six months when the council has served an improvement notice after finding a serious ‘Category 1’ hazard in the property. 

But Generation Rent claims that private renters are losing this protection because local authorities don’t have the resources to inspect properties and pursue formal enforcement action when appropriate. 

As a result, the pressure group now wants the government to scrap S21 evictions completely.

It cites as evidence to support its call the results of Freedom of Information requests to 102 councils covering more than two-thirds of England’s private renter population. 

The 99 councils that responded received 67,026 complaints about housing in 2017-18, but served only 3,043 improvement notices on landlords.

“That means just five per cent of people who complained to their council about health and safety in their homes ended up being protected from eviction” complains the group.

It says just 78 councils actually record the number of Category 1 hazards they find, and reported 12,592 hazards in 2017-18. 

“Yet just 2,545 improvement notices were served as a result - 21 per cent of cases. Many of these cases may have been resolved by informal dialogue between the council and the landlord, yet a tenant receives no vital protection from revenge eviction in this situation” it says.

And it adds: “Ultimately, the best way to stop revenge evictions and truly empower tenants to be able to ask for safe homes is to scrap Section 21.”

Meanwhile David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark, says: “We’re pleased the Homes Act is coming into force tomorrow and congratulate Karen Buck MP on her work to provide a better private rented sector for all. 

“This new legislation will give renters greater protection against criminal operators, and means they will now be able to take direct legal action if their agent or landlord does not comply.”

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Who has written this nonsense.
    Such is the concern for the misuse of this legislation by tenants, that Insurance companies are already covering Legal protection specifically against Fraudulent claims by tenants using this Labour instigated, pro-tenant ( Not to mention whopee fees for solicitors - and all at legal-aid, Tax-Payers expense. ! )

  • icon
    • 22 March 2019 21:31 PM

    This idiotic GR really need to be taken to task.
    The drivel they espouse is just beyond the pale.
    S21 is vital to maintain the PRS.
    S8 is simply not fit for purpose.
    GR need to be held to account for the incorrect propaganda they keep on spouting.
    Wiithout rebuttal their idiotic statements become part of public belief even though all of us in the know recognise it is utter twaddle.
    But you sling enough mud and eventually it sticks.
    We need someone with a Karcher to get rid of their mud as soon as it sticks.
    I DON'T think tenants understand what will happen if S21 is abolished.
    An exodus of LL will occur.
    The only reason I became a LL was because I knew via S21 I could get rid of a tenant.
    My family had long experience of sitting tenants and had to wait til they DIED before the properties could be rented at market rents.
    Years of effectively subsidising a property made me fully aware that as a LL you always need to be able to recover a property quickly or DON'T bother being a LL.

  • S l
    • S l
    • 23 March 2019 11:39 AM

    Its not only GR, its Karen Buck who push this rubbish legislation forward. What she failed to see is that only 5% are dealt with because only 5% are genuine case and the rest are just tenants abusing the power the council have against landlords. She wont be shouting so loud if she is at the receiving end of her own legislation. Her own supporters should be clear on the consequences of her action and we can then see how far her constituents is willing to accept that.

  • icon
    • 23 March 2019 16:26 PM

    Whilst it is NOT a legal requirement I believe it would be worthwhile for a LL issuing a S21 to write a letter to the tenant explaining why S21 is being served.
    Have the tenant sign the 2 copies of the letter.
    One for tenant retention and one for the LL.
    Then when idiotic GR and Shelter state incorrectly that S21 has been a revenge eviction they can be shown the letter signed by the tenant.
    Invariably the reasons for S21 will be things like
    Rent default.

    Refusal to live in the property properly.

    LL wishes to sell most likely because of S24.

    LL retiring and wishing to liquidate property assets.
    ASB of tenants.

    The other major issue which is NEVER mentioned by GR and Shelter is that NO evictions should EVER be necessary.
    If tenants complied with the S21 notice which rquires the tenant to vacate at the expiry of 2 month S21 notice then enforcement by eviction would NOT be required.
    But of course ALL the tenants game the system knowing that until they are evicted there is nothing the LL can do about it.
    During this period until ultimate eviction the tenant can steal; trash and not pay rent at the property.
    ALL of which have happened to me!!!
    It is the fact that tenants can game the system that makes being a LL a very risky prospect.
    I have narrowly avoided bankruptcy caused by a rent defaulting tenant.
    Thank god for credit cards cos that is the only way I avoided bankruptcy.
    We now have the possibility that a tenant can very quickly manufacture a mould situation to prevent eviction.
    It means that many LL will just sell these properties prone to mould if tenants do not occupy these properties properly.
    The risk to a LL of these mould prone prooerties makes retaining such properties a waste of time and effort.
    Far better to offliad to a FTB


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