Mark Whitehead 05 June 2023

Rogue landlords are using ‘fake bailiffs’, charity warns

Rogue landlords are using ‘fake bailiffs’, charity warns image
Image: Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock.com.

Rogue landlords are using fake private security guards dressed like court bailiffs to force families out of their rented homes, a charity has warned.

Safer Renting, a charity-run tenancy relations service operating in seven London boroughs, said criminal landlords were increasingly trying to trick tenants into leaving their homes without a court order.

The warning comes amid the biggest shake-up of the private rental market in decades, with the Government’s renters reform bill outlawing no-fault evictions and requiring landlords to register their properties.

Landlords caught carrying out illegal evictions could face fixed penalty fines of up to £30,000 under the bill – a significant increase on the hundreds currently imposed by the courts.

But enforcement has been extremely rare, with only 29 landlords convicted of illegal evictions or harassment in England and Wales in 2021 despite thousands of complaints.

Co-founder of Safer Renting Ben Reeve-Lewis said: '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.'

If you found this article interesting, then check out our feature, 'How AI can assist councils with social housing allocations'.

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