06 Jun 23

A charity is reported to be claiming that increasing numbers of landlords use security guards dressed as bailiffs to help evict private tenants.

The claim is made by Safer Renting, a charity operating in seven London boroughs, which says this tactic is increasingly common amongst what it calls “criminal landlords.”

The Observer reports Safer Renting spokesperson Ben Reeve-Lewis saying: “We’ve seen a spate of cases this year where landlords have used uniformed security guards to give the impression of a court-sanctioned eviction. In the past, criminal landlords may have sent heavies to throw tenants out, but this is the first time in 33 years of working in the private-rented sector that I’ve seen fake bailiffs kitted out with stab vests, radios and handcuffs. Some of them even have vans with police-like livery on the side.”

In the article, Reeve is quoted in relation to unnamed families evicted in east London, and he says: “The families are in temporary accommodation now but the woman is having trouble getting her son to his special school as she is further away. We’re taking legal action to get them back in. These kinds of cases shock the general public, but we see it all the time.”

Another case study cited, again with an unnamed family, allegedly involved a landlord hiring a property enforcement company to remove a parent and five children. It says: “The guards, who arrived in a van with police-like battenburg markings, tried to force their way in while she was working, claiming the family was trespassing. They only left when Safer Renting intervened.”

The charity claims there is an illegal eviction happening every hour of every day claims the police “too often side with the landlord” or treat cases as civil disputes. 

You can read the full piece here.

Link to original article

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