On Friday (28th November) I will be at the Despatch Box covering my Lib Dem colleague Sarah Teather’s Bill on revenge evictions. In September I was pleased to meet Sarah and representatives from Shelter to receive the public petition on revenge evictions and to announce that the Tenancies (Reform) Bill would receive Government support.
The Bill will help to tackle the small minority of rogue landlords who, rather than meet their legal duty to maintain their properties to a reasonable standard and address health and safety hazards, instead evict tenants simply for asking for essential repairs to be made. Revenge evictions are completely unacceptable and people should not be thrown out of their homes for expecting basic standards of upkeep.
These measures will build on the Liberal Democrats’ solid record of action in government when it comes to improving the Private Rented Sector (PRS). We have given councils £6.7m to tackle rogue landlords in their areas and in the last seven months 23 councils have used their share of that funding to inspect more than 6,500 properties. As a result, more than 1,700 landlords now face further action and prosecution. We have given tenants in the PRS the same access to a housing ombudsman as tenants in social housing. And we have announced a new model tenancy agreement that will help tenants to agree longer tenancies with their landlords and this will give them more stability.
More people now live in the Private Rented Sector than in social housing. While we do not want to punish good landlords, or weigh the sector down with lots of regulation, it is important that we act where we can to ensure tenants have the tools and protections to get a good deal.
Our private rental sector is a vital asset, providing a home to 9 million people across the country. That is why I am determined to root out the minority of rogue landlords that give it a bad name.