'Revenge evictions' rising, says housing charity

By staff writers
12 Jun 2014

New figures from the helpline of the housing and homelessness charity Shelter show a massive rise in calls from renters at risk of losing their homes.

Shelter have called for better protections for renters as the research shows that these calls have more than doubled in the past two years.

Campbell Robb, Shelter’s chief executive, said that the figures were "yet more evidence of the shocking reality that renters across the country are facing every day". With recent research showing that more than 213,000 people have faced eviction in the past year after asking their private landlord for repairs, he says it is time to act.

"Calls to our helpline from renters are soaring and revenge evictions are becoming all too common. Private renting is close to crisis point: this can’t go on.

"No-one should lose their home for asking their landlord to fix a problem. The government has to protect England’s nine million renters from unfair evictions", he said.

The Housing Minister Kris Hopkins is currently reviewing the law around this kind of eviction and Shelter is calling for stronger protections for renters, so that those who report bad conditions in their homes cannot be evicted until the repairs are made.

Kris Hopkins said retaliatory evictions were rare but all tenants had a right to expect a decent service for the rents they pay.

He added: "It is clearly unacceptable if anyone should hold back from requesting repairs, out of fear of being evicted". Mr Hopkins said the government had given £6.7 million to local councils to tackle rogue landlords and had made available a guide giving tenants " rental rights at their fingertips".

However, with England’s shortage of affordable homes forcing more people into private renting every day, Shelter says the problem of revenge evictions is increasingly a matter of concern.

Nadeem Khan, a Shelter helpline adviser, said: "We’re hearing from family after family who are living in fear that just one complaint to their landlord could lead to them being kicked out.

"That’s why we’re fighting to make sure that no one who asks for their property to be kept safe and decent has to worry about eviction. It’s time now for the government to take action."

[Ekk/4]

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