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Issue:- 13 March 2014

True scale of 'revenge evictions' in the North West exposed by Shelter investigation

THOUSANDS of renters in the North West are too scared of being evicted to ask their private landlord to fix a problem in their home, according to Shelter research.

A YouGov poll of more than 4,500 private renters across the country found that 6% of renters in the North West avoided asking their landlord to repair a problem or improve conditions in the last year because they feared eviction.

Shockingly, 1% of private renters said they had actually been evicted or served with an eviction notice because they complained to their landlord, letting agent or Council about a problem that wasn't their responsibility. The study also suggested that across England, 2% – equivalent to over 213,000 people – suffered the same fate.

A separate investigation by Shelter uncovered shocking cases of 'revenge evictions' across the country, including:-

A family handed an eviction notice 3 weeks after reporting damp and mould to their landlord;

► A couple who complained about a broken thermostat, mould and damp that was affecting their health, and were served an eviction notice just a week later;

► A family evicted after complaining about a leaking roof, who were told by their landlord that it "wasn't worth his while" to fix the problem.

The charity is launching an online petition at:-, campaigning for the government to protect renters from unfair 'revenge evictions'.

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins is currently reviewing whether to change the law to tackle the problem.

Last month, official figures revealed that the number of private renting households in England rose to almost 4 million – an increase of 77% in a decade - as a severe shortage of affordable homes pushes homeownership further out of reach.

The YouGov study also uncovered the shocking scale of bad conditions in privately rented homes in the North West. 38% of renters have experienced problems with mould in their homes in the past year, while 26% have lived with a leaking roof or windows, and 18% have had electrical hazards.

Greg and Laura Moore have been served an eviction notice from their rented home, which they share with their three children. Greg says:- "After living here for two and a half years, the eviction notice came just three weeks after I asked the landlord to sort out the mould and damp. Right now we have nowhere to go, and moving house is going to mean moving my son's school in the middle of his GCSEs. We haven't done anything wrong. This shouldn't be allowed."

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said:- "No-one should lose their home for asking their landlord to fix a problem, yet these shocking findings uncover the true scale of unfair evictions taking place across the country.  As homeownership drifts further out of reach, more of us are facing the prospect of settling down and bringing up a family in a rented home. But with private renters facing the worst housing conditions in the country – and the chance of eviction if they complain – generation rent is getting a raw deal. The government must protect England's nine million renters from unfair evictions.  We're calling on people across the country to sign our petition and send the government a message that England's nine million renters deserve better, now."

The research was commissioned by Shelter and British Gas as part of their partnership to improve the conditions of privately rented homes.

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