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Housing charity slammed for 'needlessly playing to people's fears'

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Housing charity slammed for 'needlessly playing to people's fears'

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities

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Image: Housing via Shutterstock

A private landlords' group has accused housing charity Shelter of "needlessly playing to people's fears" and has demanded that it "ends its campaign against landlords".

The Residential Landlords Association has reacted angrily after Shelter published data suggesting that 200,000 tenants in the private rented sector faced eviction last year after asking their landlord to fix a problem in their home.

However, according to the RLA, Shelter's data, which it published jointly with British Gas, "ignored inconvenient truths".

The RLA says that Shelter’s data indicates there are nine million tenants in the PRS in England, thus 200,000 is only a little over 2% of all tenants, meaning "almost 98% have not faced the problems Shelter and British Gas warn of".

The landlords' group says it should be noted that the figures refer "only to tenants facing evictions and not actual evictions".

The RLA highlights official figures published by the Ministry of Justice in February that showed, in 2013, the total for all tenants - in both public and PRS housing - having their homes repossessed by the courts amounted to 37,739 homes: "a combined figure that equates to only 0.5% of all rented homes in England".

And, according to the RLA, Shelter fails to explain how many of the 200,000 tenants were failing to pay their rent on time and "how many of the 'evictions' were as a result of tenancies coming to a close".

The association also notes that Shelter fails to indicate how many tenant evictions were as a result of anti-social behaviour.

Alan Ward, RLA chairman, said: “Shelter are once again needlessly playing to people’s fears.

“Whilst the RLA accepts that there are landlords who should be rooted out of the sector, the fact that almost 98% of tenants have not faced the problems should be a sober reminder to Shelter that the majority of tenants face no problems whatsoever with their landlord.

“The best response to the problems that Shelter identifies is to encourage more good landlords into the sector in order to boost the supply of homes to rent and to provide tenants with genuine choices over where they live. Shelter’s continued vilification of landlords will serve only to put the good landlords off further investment in the sector and push tenants into the hands of those operating under the radar.”

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