Very firmly esconsed on the step are Sutton Estates, managing agents on Merseyside. These charmers came up with the idea of putting notice boards outside the homes of tenants in rent arrears, proclaiming it to be the home of a ‘rent dodger’. Sutton Estates believe this to be an effective and reasonable way of getting people to pay their arrears. Perhaps sensing that some people might be a little, how can I put it, ‘unhappy’ about this approach, one landlord, Pat Slattery, whose property is managed by Sutton said “It’s not a medieval witch-hunt. The signs will not apply to hardship cases, but there are people who take the rent paid to them by the Government and do not pass it on”.
Sutton’s managing director, Mr Heffey, took a rather more robust view, saying “They can avoid us, but not their neighbours. Now, every time they walk in and out of their door, the neighbours will be laughing at them”. And, in fact, it turns out that people suffering genuine hardship would end up with a sign attached to their home, as Mr Heffey said “For someone who calls us, explains that they are having problems, we would not persevere with this if they are suffering difficulties.” So they get the sign put up, then have to call the managing agents, begging them to take it down.
Now comes the fun bit. Just how many offences are Sutton Estates/the landlord committing here?
Libel and/or harassment have been raised, as have incitement to assault and breach of Art 8 privacy. I’d add breach of covenant of quiet enjoyment and possible breach of data protection rules. Any other suggestions?
Any readers in the north west fancy bringing this nonsense to an end? I reckon it could be done on a CFA, if not legal aid.