The outgoing chief executive of campaigning charity Shelter has used the pages of a left-of-centre website to claim that “an estimated one million private renters have been victim of law-breaking landlords over the past year.”
Campbell Robb claims that a survey by Shelter suggests that the equivalent of over 600,000 renters say a landlord has entered their property without permission or notice, over 200,000 say they’ve been subjected to harassment, and 50,000 reported that their landlord had thrown their belongings out of their property and changed the locks.
“Of course, only a minority of landlords engage in these illegal practices – but to date, far too many tenants have been forced to put up with them. Our advisers frequently hear from renters facing landlords looking to bend and break the law and more often than not, renters feel vulnerable and powerless” writes Robb on the CityMetric site, operated by left-of-centre publication The New Statesman.
The Shelter research claims that while the highest proportion of complaints came from London, one in six renters from the East of England were victim to law breaking landlords, one in seven in the North East and one in eight in the South West.
“New enforcement powers introduced earlier this year are an opportunity to really crack down on the rogue landlords who persist in the sector. For the first time, it is going to be possible to ban rogue landlords from letting out property. And, if they breach a ban, there will also be the new threat of a custodial sentence for the worst offenders” says Robb.
He says it is too often the case that tenants don’t know their rights allowing power to swing into the hands of “rogue and irresponsible landlords who know how to play the system and manipulate their tenants” he says.