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Police assist illegal evictions of tenants from their homes, charity claims

Shelter Cymru has told a Senedd Cymru hearing that police have been assisting in unlawful evictions.

The charity said in evidence to the Senedd equality and social justice committee’s inquiry into debt and the pandemic that its advice services had dealt with a worrying increase in enquiries about debt during the pandemic.

It said in evidence: “We have warned about the rise in the number of illegal evictions our advice services have seen throughout the pandemic.

“In all four police areas in Wales, we have encountered police assisting illegal evictions of tenants from their homes.”

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Shelter Cymru added that police services should not be “contributing to increased debt and/or homelessness in Wales by helping to facilitate illegal evictions of people from their homes”.

It said that while initially welcomed, the original scope of the Welsh Government’s Tenancy Saver Loan scheme meant many people were unable to access help and, while later changes were positive, it was too early to measure success.

“We strongly agree with the decision to retain the six month notice period for evictions in Wales and believe that in the interest of protecting tenants and to avoid confusion, this should remain in place until the Renting Homes (Wales) Act comes into force in 2022,” the charity said.

“The drive to house people who became homeless remains the right decision and we are pleased to see the Welsh Government commit to continuing this approach and abolishing policies such as priority need and intentional homelessness.”

South Wales Police said it had asked Shelter Cymru “for examples concerning our force and we are awaiting a response before being able to comment further”. Wales’ other three police forces have been contacted for comment.

Mark Smulian

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