Landlords slam eviction ban for failing to protect abuse victims
The national body representing landlords has said that landlords are now powerless to take action against tenants committing domestic abuse or making the lives of fellow tenants or neighbours a misery following the extension.
According to the NRLA, the decision to extend the ban on evictions in rented housing will compound the suffering of victims of domestic violence and anti-social behaviour.
Research last year by the University of Bristol, 38% of victims of domestic abuse live in private rented housing, a higher proportion than any other tenure. The charity Refuge, which runs the Domestic Violence Helpline, has said that there has been a 66 per cent increase in calls to the helpline during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In cases of domestic violence, landlords will often end the tenancy agreement and offer a fresh one, for the same property, to the victim independent of the abuser.
The NRLA argues that the ban goes against the spirit of a report by the then Victims Commissioner, Baroness Newlove, who warned last year that “victims of anti-social behaviour are being let down by police, local councils and housing providers.”
The body is calling for the courts to deal urgently and swiftly with cases concerning anti-social behaviour and domestic violence when they are allowed to begin to hear repossession cases.
Since the Government made the decision to further extend the evictions ban, many victims of such behaviour have taken to twitter to express their deep concerns at the move. Sentiments have included:
“My sister can’t return to the house she owns because the abusive next-door neighbours who rent and have been served a section 21 can’t be evicted – how is that fair?! Meanwhile, her mental health suffers.”
“Fantastic. Landlord won’t be able to evict the criminals living below me that are making mines (stet) and my daughter’s life’s hell. Landlord can’t evict them, police aren’t doing anything. What am I supposed to do now? I own my home I can’t just up and leave.”
Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the NRLA, said: “Extending the evictions ban is not without victims. It leaves landlords powerless to tackle the kind of behaviour that causes untold suffering and hardship for many communities and tenants alike.
“These cases must be given top priority by the courts and their processes enhanced to avoid further delay once they start to deal with possession cases.”