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Evictions ban will fail abuse victims

Article Posted - 16th June 2020

The extension of the eviction ban could make things worse for victims of domestic violence and anti-social behaviour says the national body representing landlords.

The Government has taken action to stop evictions taking place until the end of August – leaving landlords powerless to take action against tenants committing domestic abuse or making the lives of fellow tenants or neighbours a misery.

The charity Refuge, which runs the Domestic Violence Helpline, said that there has been a 66 per cent increase in calls to the helpline during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Research last year by the University of Bristol, showed 38 per cent of victims of domestic abuse live in private rented housing - a higher proportion than any other tenure and the NRLA says the ban goes against the spirit of a report by the then Victims Commissioner, Baroness Newlove, who warned “victims of anti-social behaviour are being let down by police, local councils and housing providers.”

In cases of domestic violence, landlords will often end the tenancy agreement and offer a new one, for the same home, to the victim independent of the abuser.

The NRLA wants the courts to deal urgently with cases concerning anti-social behaviour and domestic violence when they are allowed to begin to hear repossession cases.

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the NRLA, said: “Extending the evictions ban is not without victims. It leaves landlords powerless to tackle the kind of behaviour that causes untold suffering and hardship for many communities and tenants alike.

“These cases must be given top priority by the courts and their processes enhanced to avoid further delay once they start to deal with possession cases.”

Since the announcement of the extension of the ban tenants and their families had taken to social media to share their concerns.

Messages included:

“My sister can't return to the house she owns because the abusive next-door neighbours who rent and have been served a section 21 can't be evicted - how is that fair?! Meanwhile her mental health suffers.”

“Fantastic. Landlord won't be able to evict the criminals living below me that are making mines (stet) and my daughters life's hell. Landlord can't evict them, police aren’t doing anything. What am I supposed to do now? I own my home I can't just up and leave.”

“This is a total disaster. I'm living in a shared house with a nightmare tenant. We all want her gone, as does the landlady. Her anti-social behaviour is driving us and the neighbours up the wall. She was due to go on 1st July. I can't put up with it for another two months.”

“Please don’t make this a blanket ban on evictions. Spare a thought for those of us putting up with anti-social noisy and threatening neighbours who, but for these delays to evictions, would have been gone already. Lockdown is like house arrest next to a rave party for me.”

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