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Trade body angry over "misleading and distorted" evictions report

The Residential Landlords’ Association has written an angry letter of protest to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation following the publication of what it describes as a “misleading and distorted” report into evictions in the private rental sector.

The letter is sent by association chairman Alan Ward to the foundation’s new chief executive Campbell Robb - the author of controversial comments about landlords and letting agents when he was in his former role as head of Shelter UK.

In the letter Ward says he and the RLA are “seriously concerned about the potentially misleading and distorted presentation of official statistics on repossessions.”

This includes the assertion by the foundation that “the number of tenants evicted by private landlords exceeded the number evicted by social landlords for the first time in 2014.”

Ward cites detailed Ministry of Justice data and says that the results clearly show that in every year since 2014 social sector landlords have made more claims to repossess a property than private sector landlords.

“This would be the case even if every claim using the accelerated procedure was undertaken by private sector landlords. I would therefore be grateful if you could provide an explanation as to how JRF has arrived at the conclusion that ‘the number of tenants evicted by private landlords exceeded the number evicted by social landlords for the first time in 2014’” says Ward in his letter.

The RLA also disputes a JRF claim that “over 40,000 tenants were evicted from their homes by landlords in 2015” and its more detailed assertion that “of the 40,000 evictions, there were 19,019 repossessions in the social housing sector, and 22,150 in the private rented sector.”

The association produces further MoJ statistics which dispute this fact.

“This data very clearly shows that since 2014, more bailiffs have been sent to repossess properties in the social rented sector than in the private rented sector. The only way that it could be shown that there were more bailiffs involved in repossession cases in the private rented sector would be to assume that every accelerated procedure was for the private rented sector which as well as being undocumented is unlikely given the documented balance between private and social landlord evictions. I would be grateful therefore if the JRF could make clear where its figures have come from” asks Ward.

Finally, he seeks an explanation from Campbell Robb as to why, in a report on security of tenure, the JRF has failed to note that, according to the English Housing Survey for 2015/16, the average length of time a tenant has been in their current private rented property is now 4.3 years.

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