Charity Shelter is calling for ban on so called ‘revenge evictions’ as figures show the rental market is reaching crisis point. They say they've had a record rise in calls for help taken from renters at risk of losing their homes in the North West.
More than 570 renters at risk of losing their home called the housing charity for advice in the last year, the equivalent of nearly 50 callers per month. This figure has increased by nearly 75% from the 329 callers helped by the charity two years ago.
Shelter is releasing the figures as part of its campaign to protect renters from ‘revenge evictions’. The charity’s research reveals that 1 in 17 renters (6%) in the North West avoided asking their landlord to repair a problem or improve conditions in the last year because they feared eviction.
1 in 33 (3%) said they had actually been evicted or served with an eviction notice because they complained to their landlord, letting agent or council about a problem that wasn’t their responsibility.
Housing Minister Kris Hopkins is currently reviewing whether to change the law to tackle the problem. Shelter is calling for stronger protection from eviction for renters who report bad conditions in their home to their landlord or local authority.
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.”
Almost 600 households in the North West are at risk of repossession or eviction every week according to new figures. Homeless charity Shelter say Salford, Manchester and Halton UA are the regions hotspots. In total 30,000 homes in the region are under threat.
The research is based on data recorded by the Ministry of Justice over the last financial year, showing how many homeowners and private or social renters have received a possession notice for their home.
Shelter is warning that despite the beginnings of economic recovery, growing numbers of families are still set to struggle in the future. The housing charity currently take more than 480 calls each day from homeless families and those still fighting to stay in their homes.
Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “These staggering figures show just how many families in the North West go through the trauma of learning that their home is at risk, every single week.
People are hearing that the economy is recovering, but we’re seeing the reality that many families across the country are still battling to keep their heads above water and keep their homes. Just one thing such as a job loss or serious illness can tip any of us in to a downward spiral.
Our message is that no one should battle alone. Shelter can help. Getting advice early is the best way to halt the spiral of rent or mortgage arrears and can mean the difference between losing a home and keeping it.”