Families facing eviction

Just when we’d almost forgotten about the infamous landlord Fergus Wilson, he’s back in the news today with another gloomy announcement for renters. And this time it’s families that are feeling the brunt. He is planning to evict all families with more than two children and anyone living in a three generational household.

Back in January, Wilson committed to evicting all his tenants on Housing Benefits, regardless of whether or not they were in arrears. He argued that it made more sense for him to rent to non-Housing Benefit claimants because he could charge them more rent, and not have to interact with benefit bureaucracy. This time its families who are on the receiving end of his blanket ‘no-fault’ eviction policy.  He has stated that renting to larger families makes him vulnerable to overcrowding, which can leave landlords open to prosecution.

It’s very easy to paint Wilson as an isolated big bad landlord figure (he doesn’t help himself). But, our research showed that that almost 4 in 10 (38%) landlords polled prefer not to rent to families with children. The real problem here is that any landlord can evict families, regardless of whether they are at fault, extremely easily. Families now make up a third of all private rented households. However, Wilson’s announcement is yet another stark reminder of how our broken rental market fails to provide renting families with the stability they need.

As long as you are outside the fixed period of your tenancy, which is typically only 6 or 12 months, landlords only have to give renters two months notice to leave. On top of that, landlords do not have to provide a reason why they are evicting the tenant, hence why it’s often referred to as a ‘no-fault’ eviction notice. It’s perhaps not surprising therefore, that the loss of a private rented sector tenancy is now the leading cause of homelessness.

Knowing that you could be evicted, with little notice, at any time, is stressful for anyone. For families, the prospect of uprooting children from schools and losing networks providing support and childcare demonstrates the even more fragile position that renting families find themselves in.

In an overheated market landlords can be extremely fussy about who they decide to rent to, as our research clearly shows. This seriously limits the number of homes available for families, making the competition for them even higher, driving up rents and driving down conditions.

In the past year alone 69% of renting families have experienced at least one of the following problems: damp, mould, leaking roofs or windows, electrical hazards, animal infestations and gas leaks. What’s more 60,000 families were threatened with eviction by their landlord simply for complaining about the conditions in their home.

This is why Shelter has been calling on politicians to make private rented homes a stable place to put down roots, and where families cannot be evicted for no good reason. As well as protections from revenge evictions for renters who complain about poor conditions, we need a new, longer-term renting contract to give the huge number of renting families greater stability.

To help join with Shelter to help fix private renting, you can sign our petition here

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3 Comments
  1. This is illegal and should be taken action against. Evicting
    those who were living on housing benefits was painful enough and now destroying
    the generational housing system. When
    will these landlords understand that doing good doesn’t hurt? Stop being
    greedy! http://fastevictionservice.com/

  2. Surely, these errant landlords are in breach of rental contract, possibly also the Social Contract, please? Do they not have a Duty of Care, please?

  3. You can’t criminalize greed. it would be impossible to control it. Private property is not peoples house but the legal system should protect tenants until the council provide a decent accommodation for people in difficult situations. Secondly and most important, council and housing associations houses shall be FREE from rent payments. These houses were built long ago, most of them, with tax payers money to the poor and low income families, charge rent is a purely mafia control. Anyone who is living in a council property must be free from rent but responsible for repairs such as gas, electric, plumbing, painting, apart of structure problems not caused by the tenants, everything else shall be responsibility of tenants. The councils will save billions of pounds from tax payers for not providing repairing anymore, council tenants who works will be able to save money for future deposit to buy their own private property and then the house will become available for new people who are in need. Socialists don’t like independent poor people, otherwise they can manipulate them, conservatives also didn’t learn the lesson, helping poor people to get out from poverty without charging them a lot. DOWN TO THE HOUSING AND COUNCIL HOUSES RENT CHARGES. Most of the houses costs to be built them has already been paid long time ago, charge rent is a council mafia.

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