On 1 October 2015, the Deregulation Act 2015 came into force, providing tenants with an increased level of protection against retaliatory eviction. The provisions apply to all new assured shorthold tenancies which start on or after 1 October 2015.
This relatively new legislation prevents landlords from evicting a tenant for 6 months using the accelerated possession procedure in the following circumstances:
- Where the tenant has made a legitimate complaint concerning the condition of his or her property and the problem has not been addressed by the landlord; and
- Where an Environmental Health Officer from the Local Authority has inspected the property and confirmed that remedial works are required by serving an Improvement Notice.
Tenants are advised to make timely complaints to their landlords in writing regarding disrepair issues in their properties. If there is no reasonable response within 14 days of the complaint, tenants should contact the Local Authority so that the disrepair can be verified by an Environmental Health Officer.
Once a Notice of Improvement is served on the landlord by the Local Authority, any attempt to serve a section 21 notice on the tenant by the landlord will be ineffective for 6 months and the landlord will be expected to undertake the remedial works set out in the Notice of Improvement.
The Deregulation Act 2015 also requires landlords to provide tenants with the following documentation at the beginning of a new tenancy:
- A valid Energy Performance Certificate setting out how much it costs to heat the property;
- A valid annual Gas Safety Certificate confirming that gas appliances have been checked and certified by a registered engineer; and
- A copy of the booklet entitled, ‘How to Rent: the checklist for renting in England.’
If the above documents are not given to tenants at the beginning of the tenancy, the landlord cannot serve a section 21 notice.