Amber Valley Borough Council has alleged that dozens of people have been left homeless after “retaliatory evictions” for complaining to the authority about their landlord.
AVBC made the damning allegation as it revealed its latest plans to curb homelessness and rough sleeping.
In its latest review, discussed on 4th December, the authority says that 622 people approached the council fearing they were about to become homeless or were already homeless during the last financial year (April 2018 to March 2019).
This includes a startling 69 people who said their reason for the loss of their accommodation was due to domestic abuse.
Within the 622, the highest single reason for homelessness or imminent homelessness in the borough was “end of private rented accommodation” with 151 people contacting the council.
The most common reason for this was “landlord wishes to sell”. During this part of the analysis, the borough council pointed the finger at landlords themselves.
It said: “Although by far the most common reason given by a landlord for wanting his/her property back is because they claim they want to sell it, there is little evidence to show this to always be the case.
“It is more likely that the landlord for whatever reason simply would prefer another tenant.
“There is evidence that tenants who complain to the council or other housing advice agencies may be subject to ‘retaliatory evictions’ although this would rarely be given as the reason a landlord served a notice of seeking possession.”
This comes a month after the borough council put together crackdown plans for “landlords that seek to profit from letting out poor quality and dangerous accommodation”.
It had said that “there are fundamental issues with the balance of power between the tenant and landlord”.
The authority claimed that far fewer residents are reporting concerns about their privately-rented homes than they would expect.
It says that “compared to the number of properties that are likely to have hazards, very few complaints or referrals are received”.
The borough council had again touched on the fear of retaliation from landlords, which it now says is based on fact, with incidents occurring in the area.
It had said: “The necessity to inform a landlord that an inspection is being carried out on a property can cause concern for some tenants who feel there may be repercussions for the landlord that can ultimately mean they will lose their home.”
This, it says, is a “source of frustration”, with residents tending not to proceed with their complaint, due to it requiring them to let their landlord know.