The Generation Rent campaign group has entered the fray for the Police and Crime Commissioner elections which will be held in some parts of the UK next week.
The campaign group, led by Baroness Alicia Kennedy, says candidates for the PCC role in different localities should tackle illegal evictions.
The group claims two per cent of such evictions result in prosecution, while 98 per cent do not; it also claims the number of such evictions has risen during the pandemic.
It calculates this by using Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government figures of homelessness “caused by illegal eviction in England in 2019-20.” The campaign says the figure rose to 1,040 in that year from 810 the year before. It then selects Ministry of Justice figures which show 24 prosecutions for unlawful eviction per year between 2016 and 2019.
Generation Rent says that although local authorities and police officers have powers to stop illegal evictions and to prosecute offenders, “few councils have fully-funded tenancy relations officers to perform this role.”
It wants candidates standing for Police and Crime Commissioner in elections to pledge to improve training in eviction law, record all incidents involving tenants and landlords, and work closely with councils to prevent unlawful evictions “and bring criminal landlords to justice.” It’s also calling for more council funding to clamp down on such evictions.
Baroness Kennedy says: “Being evicted illegally, often with your belongings dumped on the street is devastating. We have legal protections for renters for a very good reason, but when the Police fail to enforce these and we end up with a tiny minority going to court, renters lose confidence in the law and criminal landlords act with impunity.
“May’s elections are an opportunity for police forces up and down the country to reset their attitudes to illegal eviction and make sure that everyone gets the protection they deserve.”
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