Citizens Advice claims that 2,087 people asked it for help after being threatened with what it describes as ‘illegal eviction’ in the year to March 2016, a 47 per cent rise in 12 months.
The charity says it has heard from people whose landlords tried to evict them for missing a single rent payment, changed the locks without warning, and in some cases seized their belongings.
CA says it welcomes the creation of a new database of landlords who have broken the law, which will be available to councils in England from October; it is calling for the database to also be made available to tenants.
The Renters’ Rights Bill, which passed Second Reading in the House of Lords on June 10, would give people in England the right to see if their landlord is on the database.
“It’s a crime to throw people out of their homes without a court order, but more and more people are coming to Citizens Advice with this problem. The new database is a positive step which will help councils in England keep track of landlords who’ve broken the law. But unless tenants can check who’s on it, it will be continue to be hard for them to know which landlords to avoid. It’s crucial tenants are given access to this list” says Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice.
The Welsh Government is introducing a separate licensing and registration system along with a database which will allow tenants to check online whether their property is registered and has a landlord with a valid licence.