Tenants across England are facing ‘revenge evictions’ just for speaking up about bad conditions, a Shelter study has found.
The research, commissioned by the housing and homelessness charity and British Gas, says that the past year alone, more than 200,000 people have faced eviction because they asked their landlord to fix a problem in their home. The study also found many were too scared of eviction to complain at all – eight per cent said they’d avoided asking their landlord to repair a problem or improve conditions in the last year in case they were evicted.
A Shelter investigation revealed that revenge evictions were widespread across the country. Examples included:
- a family in Norfolk who were handed an eviction notice three weeks after reporting damp and mould to their landlord,
- a couple in Brighton who complained that the mould and damp in their home was affecting their health, and were served an eviction notice just a week later,
- a family from Lancashire who were evicted after complaining about a leaking roof – their landlord told them it ‘wasn’t worth his while’ to fix the problem.
The problem of revenge evictions is of particular concern as the housing shortage pushes more peole into renting. Just last month, the number of private renting households in England rose to almost four million – an increase of 77 per cent in a decade.
The study also showed that bad conditions were widespread, with more than 40 per cent of renters having problems with mould in the past year. Twenty-five per cent had lived with a leaking roof or windows, while 16 per cent had electrical hazards in their home.
With the government considering changing the law to tackle revenge evictions, Shelter are urging people to speak up now. Campbell Robb, Shelter’s chief executive, said: "No-one should lose their home for asking their landlord to fix a problem, yet these shocking findings uncover the true scale of unfair evictions taking place across the country.
"We’re calling on people across the country to sign our petition and send the government a message that England’s nine million renters deserve better, now."
* The petition to end 'revenge evictions' can be signed here: shelter.org.uk/9millionrenters