Retaliatory Evictions: What Does the Tenant Have to Prove?

With the government’s recent announcement that Section 21 notices are to be abolished, it is important to take action sooner rather than later if you are a landlord looking to recover possession of your property.

However, many landlords are concerned that they will be accused of carrying out a retaliatory eviction if they serve a Section 21 notice, and their possession claim will fail if the tenant defends it on this basis.

What is Considered a Retaliatory Eviction?

Much of the media’s focus has been on tenants served with a Section 21 notice as a result of complaining to their landlord about repairs.

The introduction of the Deregulation Act 2015 was supposed to give tenants protection from these so-called retaliatory evictions. However, the way in which the legislation has been drafted means that tenants have to meet stringent criteria in order to defend possession claims solely on this basis.

To be able to argue that a Section 21 notice is invalid because its service was retaliatory, the tenant has to establish that the Section 21 notice was served during the 6-month period beginning on the day:

  • Of service of an improvement notice or notice of emergency remedial action by the Local Authority on the landlord; or
  • On which suspension of the relevant notice ended

Alternatively, a Section 21 notice can also be invalid where it is served after:

  • The tenant has made a genuine written complaint to their landlord about the condition of the property;
  • The landlord has failed to address the complaint;
  • The tenant has then complained to the Local Authority about the same or substantially the same issue;
  • The Local Authority has served either an improvement notice or a notice of emergency remedial action on the landlord.

Contact our Landlord Solicitors

If you are looking to evict a problem tenant and are concerned that your actions may be found to be retaliatory, contact our expert landlord solicitors via to discuss your options. Alternatively, speak to a member of our team directly on 0330 123 1229.


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