Criminal landlords are using ‘bogus bailiffs’

Criminal landlords are using ‘bogus bailiffs’

0:02 AM, 6th June 2023, About 9 months ago 29

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Devious criminal landlords are allegedly employing fake security personnel who are masquerading as court bailiffs to forcibly remove families from their rented homes, one charity says.

Safer Renting, a tenancy relations service, reveals that these landlords are increasingly resorting to a new way to evict tenants without obtaining a court order.

The alarming revelation coincides with the government’s planned overhaul of the private rented sector (PRS) with the Renters Reform Bill.

The legislation aims to eliminate no-fault evictions, mandate landlord registration and will impose hefty fines for those conducting illegal evictions.

‘Uniformed security guards have been deployed’

Ben Reeve-Lewis, co-founder of Safer Renting, said: “We’ve witnessed a surge of incidents this year where uniformed security guards have been deployed to create the illusion of a court-approved eviction.

“Previously, these landlords might have used strong-arm tactics, but in my 33 years in the private rented sector, this is the first instance of phoney bailiffs equipped with stab vests, radios, handcuffs, and even police-style vans.”

Penalties for carrying out an illegal eviction could reach up to £30,000 – a dramatic escalation compared to the meagre fines currently imposed by courts.

Authority to evict tenants

Legally, only bailiffs appointed by the court possess the authority to evict tenants from their rented homes.

Those resorting to forceful measures or altering locks are committing criminal acts.

The surge in illegal evictions and harassment can be attributed to the mounting cost of living, with renters seeing their incomes being hit.

Increase in illegal eviction and harassment cases

Safer Renting has compiled data from various sources including Citizens Advice, Shelter and local authorities, and says there is a disturbing increase in illegal eviction and harassment cases.

The charity says that in 2022, more than 8,000 cases were recorded, a significant jump from nearly 7,800 in 2021 and more than 6,900 in 2020.

However, despite thousands of complaints, enforcement remains scarce.

In 2021, only 29 landlords were convicted of illegal evictions or harassment in England and Wales.


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Comments

Robert Sled

9:28 AM, 6th June 2023, About 9 months ago

Current headline says "Criminal landlords are using ‘bogus bailiffs"

May I suggest there is no law that forbids lying. If unmarked security guards turn up and an adult willingly leaves a property they aren't paying rent on, has a law been broken? Is it criminal if they never specifically say they are acting on authority of a court order?

For example: dressed up men come and say "we're here over the unpaid rent. The landlord has sent us here to evict you today and you have to leave or the court will make an order against you. You have to leave today to avoid a court order and a CCJ against your name"

Has a crime been committed? Nothing dishonest was said. A court order would be made over the unpaid rent and a CCJ will be issued and the way they can avoid it is to leave today. So everything is true and no illegal misrepresentation has occurred

Seething Landlord

10:03 AM, 6th June 2023, About 9 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Robert Sled at 06/06/2023 - 09:28
The actions you describe would almost certainly constitute an offence under section 1 (3) of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.

Mick Roberts

10:33 AM, 6th June 2023, About 9 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Robert Sled at 06/06/2023 - 09:28
Love it Rob. Some would like more with your thinking.

I need these bailiff's phone numbers/

dismayed landlord

11:27 AM, 6th June 2023, About 9 months ago

I’d like their contact details please. If the government and the nasal system is not going to help me I will help myself. Anarchy in the uk?? Reap what the government, shelter et al has sown.

Robert Sled

11:40 AM, 6th June 2023, About 9 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Seething Landlord at 06/06/2023 - 10:03
I just looked over that section of the legislation and I can't find anything that indicates that reminding your tenant that a court order will be issued if they don't leave is a crime

Nothing I can see in there forbids you from sending a professional to advise them that their only way to avoid a court order and CCJ against their name is to leave the property peacefully today

If the tenant willingly leaves the property on that day because they don't want a court order, why should the landlord be liable for that choice made by the tenant? No threats of force or actual force was employed. And it's certainly not illegal to use well dressed professionals with a section 8 or similar warning. Nothing suggests you are unable to warn them about courts ordering against their name and making it incredibly difficult in the future to obtain credit, a mortgage or to rent again

So if a professionally dressed man turns up with a legal notice warning of impending court action if they don't leave, has a law really been broken

Maybe some circumstances are illegal. But some may be perfectly legal and indeed, some warnings given properly may be to the advantage of the tenant, if they wish to leave without getting a record or CCJ

John Mac

12:05 PM, 6th June 2023, About 9 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Robert Sled at 06/06/2023 - 09:28
What an absolute load of twaddle, I suggest you read the beginning of this article again.

I also think the statement from the Charity of a significant rise is at best sensationalism, a 2.5% rise is NOT significant.

Enforcement has always been a problem, the Gov can bring in as many new laws as they like but without resources to enforce them, they are useless, that's why we still have the prob of a small minority of bad & criminal LL's spoiling it for the rest of us.

Mick Roberts

12:05 PM, 6th June 2023, About 9 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Robert Sled at 06/06/2023 - 11:40
Ha ha love it Rob. Stop it. You putting out there what the Govt is forcing/making us want. I'm chucking here. We should be serious.
Start the business up please for these smartly dressed man & I'll pay £10 monthly subscription + the costs of the visits.

Freda Blogs

12:11 PM, 6th June 2023, About 9 months ago

Whilst I wouldn't condone anything that fell foul of the law, I can understand why some LLs would would want to try this approach, and I am keen to see how the conversation develops as to the legality of this practice.

Isn't it interesting how the title is 'criminal LLs', yet no-one prefixes tenants similarly, even if they have been getting away with theft (non payment) of rent for many months, and the poor LL faces losses of £000s and may be about to be bankrupted, through no fault of his own.

Knowing that the government and councils are not helping innocent LLs but instead are enabling dishonest or broke tenants (whilst not upholding their own legal duties), is it so surprising that some LLs are resorting to self help? There seems to be a model standard that LLs are being held to, whilst govt, councils, tenants, press et al all cr*p on us.

Robert Sled

12:24 PM, 6th June 2023, About 9 months ago

Reply to the comment left by John Mac at 06/06/2023 - 12:05
I did read the article. It makes claims inconsistent with the example I gave you. It says "Devious criminal landlords are allegedly employing fake security personnel who are masquerading as court bailiffs to forcibly remove families from their rented homes, one charity says." Well, my example didn't include bailiffs. But again we must ask "what exactly is a Bailiff? Often called enforcement agents, is there a law against claiming to be an agent enforcing a legal notice issued by a landlord due to non-payment of rent?

Is it illegal to warn that they must leave today to avoid a court order and a CCJ?

What is illegal about telling a debtor that they are about to be enforced upon but they can avoid such actions by leaving and not coming back?

Many people just want to know if the landlord is serious. They want to leave without paying and not get a record. This method may be effective in protecting such wicked tenants from getting a CCJ record and facing a court order in their personal name

Which exact part of the law forbids landlords from issuing serious warnings about the consequences of non-payment of rent. Or which part of the law forbids tenants from weighing their options and choosing the one that leaves them with no marks against their name?

Lying may be immoral. But it can be a legally gray area

John Mac

12:32 PM, 6th June 2023, About 9 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Robert Sled at 06/06/2023 - 12:24
You must have missed this bit;

"Devious criminal landlords are allegedly employing fake security personnel who are masquerading as court bailiffs to forcibly remove families from their rented homes, one charity says."

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