'Retaliatory eviction' is when a tenant is evicted for:
- complaining about the condition of the property
- asking for repairs or maintenance
The right to evict tenants
A 'section 21 notice to quit', which asks tenants to leave rented accommodation will be invalid if:
- before the section 21 notice was issued, the tenant made a complaint in writing to the landlord regarding the condition of the property. A complaint will be deemed to have been made even if a tenant did not have their landlord's postal or email address, but has made reasonable efforts to contact the landlord to complain - see our flowchart for more information
- the landlord did not provide a response to the complaint within 14 days of the complaint being made
- in their response, the landlord did not describe the action they would take to address the complaint or give a reasonable timescale within which that action would be taken
- the landlord served a 'section 21 notice to quit' following the complaint being made
- the tenant made a complaint to the local housing authority about the same matter
- the local housing authority has visited and assessed the property using Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) to verify that it contains a serious health or safety hazard, and served a relevant notice (see below)
- the section '21 notice to quit' was not served after the tenant’s complaint to the local housing authority
Relevant notices which can be served to landlords by the local housing authority are:
- improvement notices relating to 'Category 1 Hazards' (Housing Act 2004)
- improvement notices relating to 'Category 2 Hazards' (Housing Act 2004)
- notices relating to 'Emergency Remedial Action' (Housing Act 2004)
From the day a relevant notice is served in relation to an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) in England, a 'section 21 notice to quit' may not be issued within 6 months, or in the case of a 'suspended notice', within 6 months of the end of the suspension.
Where a 'section 21 notice to quit' is invalid, landlords will not be able to apply for an 'order for possession' through the courts.
Guidance notes on retaliatory eviction are available on GOV.UK.