The vast majority of tenants are unaware of new laws introduced today which change the Section 21 evictions process.
From today, under the Deregulation Act 2015, landlords will be unable to end a tenancy using a Section 21 notice if they fail to address a repairs complaint made by a tenant which is then referred to a local authority.
On top of this, at the start of a new tenancy a landlord must provide tenants with a valid Energy Performance Certificate, an annual Gas Safety Certificate and a copy of the government's How To Rent guide in order to legally serve a section 21 eviction notice in the future.
There are also changes to how long a Section 21 notice will be valid for as well as a new Section 21 notice.
A survey of 1,000 tenants, carried out by the National Landlords Association (NLA) last month, found that 88% are unaware of today's law changes.
The study also found that 9% of tenants said they were asked to leave a private rented property after asking for repairs or maintenance to be carried out and some 78% said their last tenancy ended at the their own request.
Now that the changes have been introduced, the NLA is calling on local councils to provide a clear framework for how they plan to deal with complaints in order to ensure that legitimate ones are taken seriously and that spurious ones don’t unnecessarily prolong the possession process.
“These kinds of evictions are extremely rare but we have to make sure that complaints by tenants don’t just get lost in the system, regardless of whether they’re legitimate or not,” says Richard Lambert, NLA chief executive.
He says it is of paramount importance that the new system isn't abused by those trying to prolong the evictions process as the majority of landlords choose to end a tenancy only when it's 'absolutely necessary'.
“We all know that local councils are under-resourced but housing problems must take priority. If a tenant complains about a potentially hazardous issue then both they and their landlord should have a clear expectation of how and when the council will deal with it,” Lambert adds.
“If councils fail to act on complaints then it will undermine the law and tenants’ confidence in a system that’s supposed to protect them”.
Further guidance on today's changes can be found here and here.