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Couple ejected from rented property after having baby

Troubling case is exposed in Oxford that highlights why the UK's eviction laws can be used unfairly by landlords.

Nigel Lewis

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A couple renting in Oxford have gone public over a case involving a threatened ‘no fault’ Section 21 eviction from their rented home that highlights the ongoing problems with the legislation.

Catherine and Alex Phipps were told to move out of their property just nine days after the birth of their first child by a landlady who had ‘freaked out’ about their new arrival.

“It is affecting vulnerable people and going unnoticed. Having a baby is a normal family event and we feel like we have been penalised for this,” Mr Phipps told the local paper.

The case is particularly troubling because the couple claim their AST contract included a clause enabling two children under the age of 18 to live in the property.

Letting agent

The saga began in August last year when their letting agent visited the property for a routine inspection and saw that Mrs Phipps was 37 weeks pregnant.

After being told about the impending new arrival at the property by her letting agent Andrews, the landlady immediately told the couple they had to either move out immediately before the end of their fixed tenancy or face a Section 21 ‘no fault’ eviction later on.

The landlady told the letting agent she had endured a ‘bad experience’ with a previous tenant who had brought a new baby into the property, and that after they moved out the house had cost ‘tens of thousands of pounds’ to refurbish.

Following the birth the Phipps decided to move out rather than face a formal eviction despite 31-year-old Mrs Phipps suffering from health problems following the birth.

“It’s disappointing that there isn’t better regulation of the rental market around these issues,” said Mr Phipps.

The story had a happy ending of sorts. Andrews helped the couple find another property to rent in Oxford, which the couple says is more ‘baby friendly’.

 

January 29, 2019

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