Councils are failing to protect private renters from revenge evictions, according to a tenant lobby group.
Generation Rent says councils have the power to stop evictions by serving improvement notices when landlords fail to take action in cases when serious property hazards are reported.
Despite this, analysis of tenant complaints shows that only one in 20 renters have a notice served on their landlord, rising to one in five if a serious hazard is found at their home.
“Private renters are losing this vital protection because local authorities don’t have the resources to get out to inspect a property and pursue formal enforcement action,” said the report.
“This leaves private renters trapped in unsafe homes without the confidence to ask for repairs, and allows criminal landlords to continue to operate unchecked.”
The group claims these findings support their call to abolish Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions that allow landlords to repossess homes without giving a reason.
Generation Rent asked 102 councils covering more than two-thirds of England’s private renters. The 99 councils that responded received 67,026 complaints about housing in 2017-18, but served 3,043 improvement notices on landlords.
“That means just five per cent of people who complained to their council about health and safety in their homes ended up being protected from eviction,” said a Generation Rent spokesman.
“Many of the complaints may not have involved Category 1 hazards, but even accounting for those, still a minority of affected tenants were protected. Only 78 councils record the number of Category 1 hazards they find, and they reported 12,592 hazards in 2017-18 with 2,545 improvement notices served as a result in 21 per cent of cases.” Five councils served no improvement notices – Brighton and Hove, Hillingdon, Kensington and Chelsea, Kingston on Thames and Sefton. Hillingdon did not receive any complaints from tenants.