Criminal landlords are using ‘bogus bailiffs’

Criminal landlords are using ‘bogus bailiffs’

0:02 AM, 6th June 2023, About 11 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

The Forever Tenant

12:37 PM, 6th June 2023, About 11 months ago

Although it would not be covered under the housing legislation, from what you have described there's a possibility it could instead be considered harassment or intimidation.

Telling a tenant of the consequences of their actions is unlikely to be a crime. How you tell them could be.

Also, there are many laws that prohibit lying or misrepresentation. Whether one would apply here, I don't know. It all depends on the circumstances.

Seething Landlord

12:44 PM, 6th June 2023, About 11 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Robert Sled at 06/06/2023 - 11:40
"(3A)Subject to subsection (3B) below, the landlord of a residential occupier or an agent of the landlord shall be guilty of an offence if—
(a)he does acts likely to interfere with the peace or comfort of the residential occupier or members of his household, ... and ... he knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, that that conduct is likely to cause the residential occupier to give up the occupation of the whole or part of the premises"

Whether your proposed tactics fall foul of this section might be arguable, which is why I said "almost certainly", but you would be skating on thin ice.

Mick Roberts

13:02 PM, 6th June 2023, About 11 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Seething Landlord at 06/06/2023 - 12:44
Landlords would like any Ice to skate on. As the Govt has gave the tenants Antarctica & left the Landlords in the stream.

Monty Bodkin

13:38 PM, 6th June 2023, About 11 months ago

So 7,800 'cases' but only 29 were proven to the legal standard.

How many of the alleged harassments were for the landlord asking for the rent, stopping all night partying, drug dealing and/or pi$$ing off the neighbours?

Monty Bodkin

14:49 PM, 6th June 2023, About 11 months ago

In the interest of balance, maybe P118 should run a news article from one of the eviction specialists.

IME they are skilled mediators and negotiators, either county court or high court certified, clearly identifiable, don't carry out illegal evictions, don't harass and don't use force.
-Sorry to bring rational reality into an emotional rant.

JB

16:05 PM, 6th June 2023, About 11 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Freda Blogs at 06/06/2023 - 12:11
Yes, I agree, lets start calling criminal tenants - Criminal Tenants. It's not a familiar term and yet there's more of them than criminal landlords which is a term the likes of Shelter has made into common usage.

Reluctant Landlord

12:49 PM, 7th June 2023, About 11 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Monty Bodkin at 06/06/2023 - 13:38
wonder how many were funded by Legal Aid?

Seething Landlord

13:00 PM, 7th June 2023, About 11 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Monty Bodkin at 06/06/2023 - 14:49
If you read the report you will find that the conviction rate was around 50%.

The reason for the low numbers is that local authorities are simply not bringing prosecutions in most cases but whether this is because the evidence does not stack up or due to lack of resources, who knows?

Seething Landlord

13:01 PM, 7th June 2023, About 11 months ago

Reply to the comment left by DSR at 07/06/2023 - 12:49
None, these are prosecutions by local authorities.

Reluctant Landlord

18:15 PM, 7th June 2023, About 11 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Seething Landlord at 07/06/2023 - 13:00
I'd like to think they are dropped by the LA's when it can be shown perhaps that the LL tried to engage with the tenants, and possibly actively tried to get the LA to assist too? That way the council knew the tenant was a problem....

could their lack of assistance be put forward in some way (rightly or wrongly ) as a mitigating factor that the LL could use in their argument. Just by bringing this would show the LA in a bad light while showing the LL acting 'reasonably' by taking steps to seeking help in the first place? Just a thought...

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