The government has accused campaign group Generation Rent of peddling “unreliable and misleading” figures about potential evictions in the private rental sector.
Generation Rent has for some days been suggesting that 55,000 households had been served an eviction notice during the eviction ban period.
It repeated the claim on Twitter only for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to launch an attack on the claim.
On Twitter the MHCLG responded to the incorrect data, saying: “These figures are unreliable and misleading – @GenRentUK have looked at the responses of 13 individuals to conclude 55,000 households have been served an eviction notice. The official statistics show only 3,022 private and social sector landlords applied to the courts for possession of their property between April and June, down 89 per cent on the same time last year.
“We've taken action to protect renters including a ban on evictions for the last six months and introduced six month notice periods - so anyone served notice won’t have to leave their home over winter, except in the most serious cases such as anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse. In addition guidance has been issued to bailiffs not to enforce evictions in areas of local lockdown or over Christmas.
“For those renters who require additional support, there is also £180m of extra support for Discretionary Housing Payments so councils can support renters to pay off arrears or downsize.
“We will keep these measures under constant review and our decisions will continue to be guided by the latest public health advice.”
After the lengthy MHCLG tweets Generation Rent did not dispute the 13 figure and instead responded by posting: “This is the best data we know of on the caseload the courts are starting to deal with. What are your estimates of the number who will fail to benefit from the new six month notice period? You’ll soon have much better data – when will you be publishing it?”