Now, new research has found that so-called "revenge eviction" is an incredibly significant problem in England. According to Citizens Advice, private tenants who complain to landlords about issues in their home – damp or mould, for example - have a 46% chance of being evicted within six months.
The odds of being evicted rise considerably, Citizens Advice found, if tenants take their issues to a local authority or complain to a redress scheme.
So-called "revenge eviction" is made possible by section 21 of the 1988 Housing Act, which allows landlords to evict tenants unilaterally with just two months' notice, even if they've done nothing wrong.
Scrolling through the #VentYourRent hashtag on Twitter reveals some pretty shocking tales of "revenge eviction".
I once rented a house with bad damp (apparently my fault for 'pushing the bed up against the wall') and when we complained got evicted because LL 'wanted to sell'. A month later house was back up for rent with a lick of paint over the black mould at £300/month more #VentYourRent— Adele Julier (@AdeleCMJ) August 20, 2018
Evicted for "untidiness" after objecting to:— Ross Brown (@bob_dole75) August 24, 2018
- Landlord's wife & two kids staying for two weeks and not paying for energy
- And his construction of this ludicrous glass-bricked room for him to sleep in every month when he visited from Spain.#ventyourrent pic.twitter.com/cOIMPFsAqS
Citizens Advice published this new research as the government completes its consultation into making three-year tenancies compulsory. This measure is designed to give greater protection to tenants, but Citizens Advice's chief executive Gillian Guy has warned that section 21 could be used to reduce its effectiveness.
"The chance of a family being evicted from their home for complaining about a problem shouldn't carry the same odds as the toss of a coin. Those living in substandard properties must have greater protection against eviction when they complain," she said.
"Our report shows that well-intentioned laws created to put an end to revenge evictions have not worked, and a new fix is needed. There are serious question marks over the existence of a power that allows landlords to unilaterally evict tenants without reason - known as section 21. While government plans for minimum three-year tenancies is a step in the right direction, these changes must be strong enough to genuinely prevent revenge evictions once and for all."