13% of private rented properties have category 1 hazards  –  Damned lies and statistics

13% of private rented properties have category 1 hazards – Damned lies and statistics

10:15 AM, 25th April 2022, About 2 years ago 14

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I’ve just read an article by Nearly Legal, based on a parliamentary report he had read, and I wondered about the statistics being quoted, e.g. 13% of private rented homes have a category 1 hazard.

I clicked on the link to the parliamentary report and it gives this percentage as an ESTIMATE. Looking deeper it says it is based on another report (by the NAO), so I looked at that and that too is based on an estimate. Further on in the NAO report, it says that the figure is from an analysis of data from the English Housing Survey, which appears, to take their figures from the data estimates supplied by local authorities based on inspections carried out by local authorities.

The 13% figure appears to be an average percentage of private rented properties that have been inspected by local authority inspectors that were found (upon inspection) to have category 1 hazards, i.e. NOT a snapshot of all private rented properties.

Of course, the properties actually inspected by councils are not a snapshot of all private rented properties, they are only the ones that have been reported (usually by tenants) to the local authority as having hazards.

This would indicate that as perhaps 95% of private rented properties are not inspected by the local authority, and in most likelihood may have no category 1 hazards (otherwise councils would be inspecting them), then the 13% figure cannot possibly be fairly said to apply to all private rented sector homes.

I don’t know what percentage of the total is actually inspected, but if for example it is 5% that are inspected (95% not inspected), then the number of private rented properties ACTUALLY FOUND TO HAVE Category 1 hazards, would be 13% of the 5% = 0.65% of the total.

Simply saying “13% of private rented homes have a category 1 hazard” would be a gross and dishonest distortion of the facts, if, as seems to be the case, the figures are based on the LA’s estimated percentage of private rented properties they’ve inspected which have then been found to have category 1 hazards.

Although there may be a few with category 1 hazards that are never brought to the attention of the local authority, the number is likely to be small, as a category 1 hazard is a serious defect that the vast majority of tenants would report. It may therefore be more like 1 – 1.5%, rather than 0.65% of private rented homes that have a category 1 hazard, but it is certainly nowhere near the 13% that is being reported to parliament (and upon which they will base future housing policies, and additional regulations to impose upon private landlords).


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11:52 AM, 25th April 2022, About 2 years ago

Remember that Parliment want to mke landlords look bad (presumably so they can justify more and larger taxes on the PRS), so misquoting the statistics to its advantage seems to be fair game.
Remember my favourite statistical quote attributed to Aaron Levenstein
“Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.”


11:55 AM, 25th April 2022, About 2 years ago

99% of politicians cause harm to the PRS sector.
Just an estimate, but who do you go to to get that resolved?

Old Mrs Landlord

12:01 PM, 25th April 2022, About 2 years ago

On such flimsy evidence and extrapolation from tiny percentages to apply to the whole sector is most of the vilification of private rented housing based. Add to this the fact that the commonest Cat. 1 hazard listed is condensation and mould and Shelter state that half of tenants cannot afford to heat their homes properly (a figure which will only get worse by next winter) and you have a situation in which private landlords just cannot avoid universal condemnation with resultant knee-jerk legislation from a government anxious to appeal to tenants and scapegoat landlords. My crystal ball foresees more landlords selling up or moving to short-term lets.

Luke P

12:30 PM, 25th April 2022, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Old Mrs Landlord at 25/04/2022 - 12:01
I've just had a quick search to see if I can find it (it may fall under HHSRS) and had no luck, but I'm pretty sure there's an obligation to provide an *affordable* form of heating. No doubt, if that is indeed the case, the likes of bog-standard GCH will be deemed unaffordable. Shelter will crow to Govt, who (because of the latest green agenda nonsense) will realise what a great 'lever' that is to get LLs to install heat-pumps etc.

Mick Roberts

12:34 PM, 25th April 2022, About 2 years ago

I delved into this When Nottingham Labour Imbecile Selective Council came in.
21% of Landlords Private rented houses had Category one hazards.
Which also means 79% of houses din't, so u 79% of tenants that han't got a problem are now being tortured with stupendous fees & rules & rent increases to get at the minority.
So the minority 21%.
Some of the Category one hazards was a Carpet tack loose on the stairs. EVEN IF it's the tenants carpet, but because in Housing law/rules (someone correct me), Landlord is responsible for stair coverings (And bathroom & kitchen coverings), it goes down as the Landlords fault. So Mr Govt, give the Council permission to introduce Licensing to increase rents to extortionate levels & make thousands homeless-All for tenants Carpet tacks.

Nottingham Selective Licensing Landlord forum Dec19, the Councillor said she has received 20,000 applications & had served 200 improvement notices on houses.
That in my book is awful odds. Fine/charge/Tax 20,000 tenants (through rent increases) & Landlords, to get just 200? So 19,800 have paid through the nose & their lives got much worse? This is not the way to make peoples homes better. 19,800 have got worse.
That's 1% of houses have got a fault, so we charging u other 99%.

Seething Landlord

12:43 PM, 25th April 2022, About 2 years ago

There is no possibility of anybody in government listening to the righteous indignation of a few landlords who do not accept the statistics quoted in the report.
Better to highlight the findings of the report which are highly critical of the way in which government functions in relation to the PRS, the minimal cooperation between departments and the lack of data held by government, local authorities and the courts and start lobbying for them to get their house in order before they do any more piecemeal tinkering.
On a positive note it appears that under Michael Gove the new department is attempting to develop an overall strategy for the PRS but perhaps it is too much to hope for that this will resolve any of the issues that are of major concern to us as landlords.

Chris @ Possession Friend

13:41 PM, 25th April 2022, About 2 years ago

You've pretty much 'sussed it' !
Only properties that are complained about by Tenants as to their condition get inspected. Given that there must be some allegation of an issue for a tenant to complain, I think it actually says a Lot FOR - positively about Landlords !
Just use the Anti-Journalist Landlord-bashing method of writing the same statistic, which would be ;
" Only 13% of properties complained of by Tenants revealed a hazard "
It would be interesting to compare a L.A that inspects Every rented property as part of a Licensing scheme and do an FOI on the number / % of all those properties where a Hazard was discovered.
You can bet it would be nothing like 13% !
Lies, Damn Lies and Landlord Bashers

Layla .

22:22 PM, 25th April 2022, About 2 years ago

Based on those statistics it would be better journalism to say that 87% of Category 1 Hazard reports were false allegations.

Chris @ Possession Friend

22:32 PM, 25th April 2022, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Layla . at 25/04/2022 - 22:22
... or how about - Only 2 Landlords worthy of prosecution from over 3000 complaints !

Hammersmith and Fulham, which has posted on social media about its “tough approach” to tackling rogue landlords.
Open Democracy’s Freedom of Information request found the council had prosecuted just two landlords and issued just one civil penalty between April 2018 and March 2021. It received more than 3,000 complaints in the same period.

Laura Delow

9:10 AM, 26th April 2022, About 2 years ago

Although it seems Government rarely listens to landlords, if we individually do nothing it is tantamount to agreeing with the Report's findings (which has been widely published by Which, The Press & News Channels to name but a few) and if left unchallenged, will become the gospel truth for government policy decision making, and the misinformed public will support these new policies as they believe the data to be true. It is our human right to challenge the use of incorrect data that unjustly & unfairly defames the private rented sector that in turn unfairly effects our livelihoods.
Writing to our local MPs even though it seems to have little impact is I suppose a necessary part of the complaints process about the right data in the right hands at the right time being a fundamental key driver for better policy decisions, as supported by The National Audit Office Report. https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Challenges-in-using-data-across-government.pdf
The livelihoods & reputations of the PRS landlord is under attack & being severely damaged by government policy decisions based on incorrect data.
We should also each complain to the Cabinet Office https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/cabinet-office/about/complaints-procedure
And if still dissatisfied, take the complaint to the Parliamentary Ombudsman https://www.ombudsman.org.uk/about-us/contact-us
The alternative is to do nothing & our complaining turns into just moaning amongst ourselves which achieves nothing. Tenants have the right idea. They get their complaints heard loudly & publically whilst landlords moan behind closed doors.

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