A number of provisions in the Deregulation Act 2015 came into force on the 1st October 2015.
The provisions at paragraph 33 of the Act are in force to attempt to prevent retaliatory evictions in England, that is, where the tenant has complained about repairs required to their rented home and the landlord rather than carry out repairs, instead, serves the tenant with a section 21 notice, with the intention of securing possession of the property.
The Act prevents a landlord from serving a section 21 notice of an assured shorthold tenancy:
- Where a relevant notice has been served in relation to that property
- Within 6 months beginning with the day of service of the relevant notice, or
- Where the operation of the relevant notice* has been suspended, within 6 months beginning with the day on which the suspension ends.
- A section 21 notice will be invalid where
- before the section 21 notice was given, the tenant made a complaint in writing to the landlord regarding the condition of the property at the time of the complaint,
- the landlord:
- did not provide a response to the complaint within 14 days beginning with the day on which the complaint was given,
- did not provide an adequate response (an adequate response would be in writing and describes the action that the landlord is to take to address the complaint and sets out a reasonable timescale within which that action will be taken), or
- gave the section 21 notice following the complaint,
- The tenant then made a complaint to the local housing authority about the same, or substantially the same subject matter as the complaint to the landlord,
- The local housing office served a relevant notice in relation to the property in relation to the complaint, and
- If the section 21 notice was not given before the tenant’s complaint to the local authority, it was given before the service of the relevant notice.
Section 2 above applies (despite paragraph a – that the complaint be made in writing) even when the tenant does not know the landlords postal or email address details. As long as the tenant has made reasonable efforts to contact the landlord to complain about the condition of the property but was unable to do so.
If the section 21 notice becomes invalid before the Order for possession is made the court must strike out the proceedings.
Should you consider that these provisions apply to you then you may be in a position to raise a defence to your landlords claim for possession.
Contact one of our housing specialists for advice and assistance.