Below is a copy of the letter I sent to my MP today, Graham Evans, which I post here for prosperity. If I get one, I’ll post a reply too:
Dear Mr Evans,
This Friday, 28th November, MPs will debate the second reading of Sarah Teather’s Private Members’ Bill on so-called ‘retaliatory evictions’.
I am writing to ask you to oppose this bill.
As a local landlord who has recently moved to Sandymoor in Runcorn (we moved to put our child into the excellent new Sandymoor Free School, in fact you met her when you visited) we have started investing in Runcorn to improve the very dilapidated private housing stock in the area.
We have for example already converted a derelict and empty property, providing 4 high quality all en-suite bedsits, all of which are rented to DSS tenants (bucking the general trend amongst private landlords) who were, or were at risk of being, homeless.
We have worked closely with the council, inviting them in to inspect and advise of the refurbishment and were granted a HMO license at the first time of asking, without quibble or condition. We’ve worked closely with homeless shelters and Halton council’s homelessness officer and have tenant on the council’s Bond Guarantee Scheme.
I provide these details to hopefully demonstrate that we are the kind of quality landlords that you would want to encourage. Which is why I’m writing to ask you to oppose Sarah Teather’s Private Members’ Bill. Our main issues are:
- There are no reliable figures to show that retaliatory evictions are a big problem that needs new legislation. Generally, landlords don’t evict good tenants for no reason.
- Changes are not needed as retaliatory evictions are already illegal under consumer protection regulations.
- The Bill will be ineffective. It is supposed to help good tenants and punish bad landlords, but instead bad tenants will use the law to avoid eviction, withhold rent and to continue with anti-social behaviour, while criminal landlords will continue to ignore the law anyway.
- The Bill assumes a landlord is guilty of carrying out a retaliatory eviction by suspending the section 21 notice when a tenant complaint is received. In other countries, like Australia and USA it is up to the tenant to prove that an eviction is retaliatory.
- Local authorities do not have the staff to carry out the extra inspection work the Bill requires.
- Landlords will be more selective about who they let to, reducing availability of accommodation to groups seen as ‘high risk’.
- The Bill will undermine confidence of landlords and drive out investment in the private rented sector.
What with the already crazy introduction of section 22 of the Immigration Act 2014, which attempts to turn landlords into border guards and passport experts by checking potential tenants “right to rent”, the amount of extra red tape that’s been laid at landlords’ feet this year is already very onerous.
Sarah Teather’s bill would take away one of the few legislative tools that landlords have to ensure the smooth operation of their portfolio, and would become a charter for abuse by rogue tenants, determined to steal rent from landlords, most of which are not experts, have only a few properties, and earn less than £20,000pa:
Please oppose this inequitable, unfair and obtuse bill and encourage your fellow MPs to do likewise.
Here’s the image from that link above:
If you know anyone who’s a landlord, I suggest you ask them to send a similar letter to their MP.