Brighton union calls for action against ‘revenge evictions’

A union representing tenants is urging the council to take more action to stop landlords from imposing “revenge evictions”.

Acorn borough union is calling on councilors to back a motion, to be tabled at a meeting later this afternoon, that would allow Brighton and Hove City Council to issue formal notices to landlords to stop the evictions in retaliation for tenants who file complaints about the condition of their property.

The union claims that testimonies from its members and evidence presented to the council show many tenants in the city were evicted by landlords in this way.

While councils have the power to prevent vengeance evictions through formal notices, Acorn alleges that the city council’s policy puts tenants at risk by issuing informal warnings that offer tenants no legal protections.

A spokeswoman for Acorn said: “Our members and tenants across the city have been evicted by landlords in revenge for asking for repairs. No one should be afraid to remain silent about repair issues for fear of eviction. This is a shocking situation that many are facing and it needs to change now.

“The council’s current policy is soft on landlords who break the law and actively puts tenants at risk by only reprimanding landlords whose tenants complain and not providing them with legal remedies to seek revenge evictions to contest

“Recent reports in the news have shown that poor living conditions can be a matter of life and death, but in recent years Brighton and Hove City Council has continued to leave the city as a ‘wild west’ for vulnerable landowners.

“That needs to change now, and that’s why we’re asking councilors to vote in favor of this motion.”

Council members will vote on the motion at a full council meeting this afternoon.

Brighton and Hove senior councilor for the private rental sector, Martin Osborne, said: “On 16 November, councilors along with the chief executive and senior council officials met with Acorn to better understand their concerns.

“The council has limited powers to act in the deregulated private rental sector.

“However, the Council’s leadership has already committed to earlier enforcement action and has reviewed the previous private rental sector enforcement policy to ensure it meets the needs of our residents.

“We have recently invested an additional £200,000 in additional private sector housing inspectorate staff to improve standards and tackle rogue landlords where necessary. This has led to an increase in fines over the past year.

“We have called on the government to provide additional enforcement capacity and to give more urgent priority to the presentation of the Renter’s Reform Bill. This would end the innocent evictions first promised in 2018.

“As part of our ongoing work on the cost of living crisis, we have also written to Michael Gove to freeze rents, reintroduce a temporary ban on evictions until at least March 2024 and increase local housing benefits in line with inflation.

“Councils will consider and respond to a motion at a full council meeting. It would not be appropriate for us to comment on this before the Council meeting.” Brighton union calls for action against ‘revenge evictions’

Fry Electronics Team

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