Retaliatory eviction is where a tenant makes a legitimate complaint to their landlord about the condition of their property and, in response, instead of making the repair, the landlord serves them with a section 21 notice asking them to leave.
If a tenant has an assured shorthold tenancy or a renewal agreement which started on or after 1 October 2015 and is given a section 21 notice it will be invalid where all these apply:
- before the section 21 notice was issued, the tenant made a complaint in writing either by email or letter to the landlord regarding the condition of the property. A tenant will be considered to have made a complaint if they did not know the landlord's postal or email address, or had made reasonable efforts to contact the landlord to complain but could not
- the landlord:
- did not provide a response within 14 days of the complaint being made
- did not describe the action they would take to fix the problem or give a reasonable timescale within which action would be taken, or
- served a section 21 notice following the complaint being made by the tenant
- the tenant then complained to the council about the same or a very similar issue
- the council sent the landlord a housing improvement notice or emergency remedial action notice because the property was found, following a visit in response to the complaint, to have a serious health or safety hazard
- and if the section 21 notice was not given before the tenant's complaint to the council, it was given before the service of the relevant notice.
If the council serve a landlord with a relevant housing notice, a valid section 21 notice can not be issued within six months of the council's notice. A section 21 will be valid if it is served after 6 months have passed.
The situation does not apply where a landlord uses the section 8 court procedure for evicting a tenant. In order for a landlord to rely on the section 8 procedure, there are certain grounds that have to be met, for example, where a tenant fails to pay the rent or has been involved in anti-social behaviour.
You can use the following example letter to report any repair problems to your landlord. You should always keep a copy of the letter you send. For urgent issues, you may also wish to telephone your landlord.
Sample letter for reporting repairs to your landlord (Word 14kb)