The Radio 1 Newsbeat program has gathered figures through Freedom of Information requests and discovered that half of all councils have not used new powers given to them to make revenge evictions illegal.
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Only 19% of councils questioned said they had prevented one or more revenge evictions. 26% said they didn’t record any information about revenge evictions and 55% of all councils said they hadn’t stopped any revenge evictions.
Law Changed in 2015
The law was changed in 2015 to protect tenants from rogue landlords. Revenge evictions usually occur when a tenant makes a complaint about a property and is then served with a Section 21 eviction notice. More often than not, it is vulnerable tenants who don’t know their rights who are evicted in this manner, often by landlords who don’t want to spend money making their properties habitable.
Tenants Unaware of their Rights
The law says complaints must be made in writing before being evicted, but often tenants are unaware of their rights or lack the confidence to stand up against a rogue landlord. Many tenants at risk of a revenge eviction are too afraid of potential repercussions to complain about the state of their property. One of the tenants interviewed by the Newsbeat team told reporters she was scared of ending up on the street.
Many experts believe retaliatory evictions are a growing problem, but the Department for Communities and Local Government disagrees. It says revenge evictions are rare. Shelter, meanwhile, says the law is better than nothing.