I HAVE commented before about the relatively easy ride landlords have had in securing the eviction of tenants and on the absence of any security of tenure.

I have also commented on the practice of retaliatory evictions whereby some landlords, having received a complaint from a tenant about a broken shower or the like, have chosen to evict the tenant rather than deal with the repairs.

However, changes are afoot.

Take the issue of deposits. It is a mandatory requirement that landlords pay a tenant’s deposit into a Deposit Protection Scheme, or a similar arrangement within 30 days of receipt of the deposit. They are also under an obligation to notify the tenant within that period of the whereabouts of the deposit and provide a certificate confirming it has been protected.

I was recently in court against a letting agent, who received a deposit but did not pay it into the scheme until almost two months later. The consequences for the landlord were that he could not proceed with his possession proceedings against the tenant, and indeed, would not be able to commence those proceedings until he had refunded to the tenant the full amount.

Today, changes come in, which affect whether or not a landlord can terminate a tenancy where there has been no fault on the part of the tenant.

The new Deregulation Act will come into effect for all new shorthold tenancies granted after October 1, 2015, and provide that no notice terminating the tenancy can be given unless the tenant has been provided with an energy performance certificate for the property, and a current Gas Safety Certificate. There is also a ban on the service of any notice within the first four months of the tenancy.

The tenant must be given the prescribed information described above and is contained in a booklet entitled How to Rent: The Checklist for Renting in England. If it is not complied with, the landlord will not be able to terminate the tenancy until it is.

It is the retaliatory eviction amendments which are most interesting. These provide that a Section 21 Notice (the notice terminating the tenancy) may not be given if, before the notice was given, the tenant has made a complaint in writing to the landlord, the landlord has not provided a response within 14 days or provided an inadequate response, and has given a Section 21 Notice following the complaint, and the tenant has made a complaint to the local housing authority and the housing authority have served a notice in respect of the complaint.

The landlord’s response must set out a clear description of the action the landlord proposes to take to address the complaint and a timescale.

It is a process that the tenant must write to the landlord, giving notice of the problem, the landlord has a reasonable time to sort it out and if not, the tenant complains to the council. The council must inspect and then serve an Improvement or a Remedial Action Notice. It is then that a notice to terminate the tenancy would be invalid.

There may be interesting times ahead.