An eviction company has been slammed by Unite after running an advert comparing domestic renters to vermin.
The Facebook advert for the Remove a Tenant firm, which provides eviction services on behalf of landlords and letting agents, features a block of cheese and reads: “Are your tenants household pests?”
Offensive – Image first appeared on Facebook
The Solihull-based firm operates nationwide and advertises its “significant expertise” in evictions involving housing benefit claims.
The controversy came after it was revealed that more than 40,000 tenants were evicted by landlords in 2015 – an increase of a third since 2003 and the highest level ever recorded.
Remove a Tenant general manager Mike Turner said the outrage over the advert is “a lot of fuss about nothing.”
However, Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner disagreed.
He said, “Comparing tenants to rodents is absolutely unacceptable. I’m shocked that this advert was given the go ahead in the first place and I hope it has now been taken down.
“Finding a decent home in the UK is bad enough already, with many people forced into paying extortionate rents and living under the threat of short-term tenancy agreements that could see them evicted at any time, but adverts like this just encourage the idea that renters are a nuisance to be endured and controlled.
“Unfortunately this is what happens when the issue of housing is turned solely into a vehicle for making money. Until there is a change of priorities, one that recognises that tenants have a right to be protected from untrammelled profiteering, damaging attitudes of this kind will continue.”
Unite national officer for housing, Siobhan Endean, said the government could help fix the housing market by investing in a large-scale council housing programme.
Endean said, “Building affordable homes that people can live in long-term would improve living standards and create decent jobs. We also need rent controls and regulations on private landlords.
“Taken together these measures would ease the pressure on renters who are so often pushed into the exploitative one-way relationships with landlords – the type of relationship the “household pests” advert so clearly typifies.”