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Don't call us rent dodgers; Tenants say signs put them at risk.


TENANTS shamed by Rent Dodger signs say they have become targets for abuse.

An field's Sutton Estates introduced the signs to target what they call serial nonpayers in their properties.

A Birkenhead man with a joint tenancy has hit back at the tactic, saying it has exposed them to attacks from the public and takes no account of a large rent rises..

Machine operator Kevin Morris, 42, said: "We don't agree with Sutton Estates saying that we are months behind in the first place, but these signs are dangerous.

"We live near Charing Cross and there are a lot of drunks around, when they've seen the signs it can lead to real trouble.

"I share the house with a lady who is mixed race and she's suffered racist abuse in the street. One of the people who had come out of the pub said 'pay your rent you p***".

"It takes no account of the fact that when this firm took over, the rent shot up by pounds 100 a month to around pounds 560, I don't think these properties areworth it.

"It's a nasty tactic and it's dangerous."

Simon Gordon of the National Landlords Association (NLA) agreed, saying: "This kind of behaviour will only serve to alienate the tenant."

Neil Heffey, partner at Sutton Estates, said the two tenants in question were months behind on their payments.

He said: "We are sticking with the policy. The supposed increase in this case was nothing to do with the rent, it was an attempt to recover arrears.

"The NLA may have come out against this but we've got the backing of 40,000 other landlords via other associations and we've been inundatedwith emails of support.

"This is not intentionally trying to cause a problem for someone, but tenants have to pay their bills, and so do landlords.

"These signs only go up when the defaulting is excessive.

We absolutely understand that there are cases of hardship but this is not one of them.

"We come to lots of payment plans with people who are in trouble; these signs have been put up in the cases where defaulters have made no effort to get in contact with us."

'Lady who is mixed race has suffered racist abuse over this in the street'


CONTROVERSY: The signs, like this one in Walton, have come under fire From tenants and some landlord groups but have been defended by others
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 13, 2008
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