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Private landlord group slams Shelter for 'scaremongering'

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Private landlord group slams Shelter for 'scaremongering'

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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 body for private landlords has accused housing charity Shelter of "scaremongering and playing to people's fears".

The Residential Landlords Association has reacted to figures Shelter has released today that show the number of calls to its helpline from people worried about losing their home has doubled over the last two years.

The RLA says that, while it believes it is "unacceptable and wrong" for tenants to be "living in fear", public policy cannot be based on a "distorted sense of the problem".

Shelter says it has taken 7,600 calls from people concerned about losing their PRS home in the last year, the equivalent of nearly 150 callers per week.

The charity's recent research also shows that more than 213,000 people have been served with an eviction notice in the last year after asking for their private landlord ot fix a problem - so-called 'revenge evictions'.

The RLA claims that Shelter will "only ever hear from tenants in the minority of cases where things go wrong and therefore fail to see the bigger picture".

According to the RLA, the 'bigger picture' includes:

• With nine million tenants in private rented housing in England, the 7,600 calls referred to by Shelter equate to just 0.08% of tenants.

• Government figures show 83% of tenants in the PRS are satisfied with their properties compared to 81% in the social sector.

• Just 9% of tenancies in the PRS are ended by the landlord, mostly as a result of tenants committing anti-social behaviour or failing to pay their rent.

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

“Whilst we believe it is wrong for any tenant to have to live in fear, we need a rationale debate that recognises that the vast majority of landlords don’t spend their time looking for the first opportunity available to evict their tenants. That’s why the average length of private rented tenancies is now over 3 years, with tenants enjoying considerable discounts on their rents where this does happen.

“In the end however, the best way to root out those criminal landlords who reap misery on tenants live is a substantial boost to the supply of homes to rent providing tenants with genuine choices about where they live.

“The RLA has a comprehensive manifesto for growth in the sector. Unfortunately, Shelter seem more concerned with playing to people’s fear than coming up with constructive ideas on how to support and encourage the good landlords whilst rooting out the minority of criminals operating under the radar.”

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