Complaining tenants are ‘twice as likely’ to be evicted – Shelter claims

Complaining tenants are ‘twice as likely’ to be evicted – Shelter claims

0:01 AM, 31st March 2023, About A year ago 2

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A private tenant who complains to their landlord about the state of their property is more than twice as likely to be evicted than a tenant who does not complain, the homeless charity Shelter says.

The organisation has carried out research and found that a renter who has complained to their landlord, local council or letting agent in the last three years were two and a half times (159%) more likely to be handed an eviction notice.

Shelter says that ‘due to the lack of regulation’ in the private rented sector (PRS), millions of tenants are trapped in a ‘catch-22’ situation which sees them putting up with poor conditions – or risk being evicted if they complain.

It says that 25% of tenants – just over 2 million people – say they are too afraid of being evicted to ask for repairs or for conditions to be improved.

‘Dragging its heels on the Renters’ Reform Bill’

Shelter’s chief executive, Polly Neate, said: “By dragging its heels on the Renters’ Reform Bill, the government has left private renters in a terrible catch 22 – they either shut up and put up with disrepair, or risk more than doubling their chances of eviction in a cost-of-living crisis.

“Day in day out, Shelter hears from people who are forking out huge sums on rent while living in nightmarish conditions because private renting is woefully under-regulated.

“It is a travesty that so many private renters are too afraid to complain about the mould growing all over their kids’ clothes, or the water pouring in through broken window frames, in case it costs them their home.”

Ms Neate continued: “Renters are bearing the brunt of government dithering over urgently needed private rental reforms.

“Renters can’t wait any longer, the government must urgently make its Renters’ Reform Bill law to protect tenants who call out poor conditions from unfair evictions and homelessness.”

76% of private renters have experienced disrepair

The research from the charity also reveals that 76% of private renters in England – equivalent to more than 6.2 million people – have experienced disrepair in their home.

And 51% say they have had issues with damp and mould, while 31% had issues with lack of hot water or heating.

Also, 18% had electrical hazards or issues with essential safety equipment in their homes, like smoke or carbon monoxide alarms.

Advice pages on disrepair now being accessed every 18 seconds

Shelter says the research backs-up what they are hearing through its services and its online advice pages on disrepair are now being accessed every 18 seconds – that’s up 53% in a year.

Now the organisation says that the ‘government’s unfulfilled promises’ to reform private renting are leaving ‘millions of people trapped in dire conditions’.

Tenants are also powerless to do anything about those issues, Shelter says, without risking eviction.

It wants the government to urgently introduce the Renters’ Reform Bill to end ‘unfair evictions’, drive up standards in the PRS and ‘hold landlords to account for poor behaviour’.

‘No renter should have to put up with unsafe housing’

Ben Beadle, the chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), said: “No renter should have to put up with unsafe housing.

“It is important that they have the confidence to challenge poor standards where they see them.”

He added: “There are almost 170 laws affecting the private rented sector, including those protecting tenants from so called ‘revenge’ evictions.

“Councils need to make better use of these powers to protect renters from rogue and criminal landlords.”

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20:33 PM, 31st March 2023, About A year ago

Shelter comes up with a constant string of complaints. I never see them providing any examples of the problem. As far as I am aware you can complain to any council if your property needs repairs and your landlord fails to make them. The council will help you. Lets us see real examples Shelter rather than just accusations.

Old Mrs Landlord

22:41 PM, 31st March 2023, About A year ago

In 18 years of private letting we have never had a tenant complain. If a fault develops or any damage to the property occurs, the tenant rings up and reports the matter to us and we arrange for a repair or replacement if it's not something we can fix. Does Shelter's use of the verb "complain" indicate something about the attitude of the tenants they polled, presumably from people who have consulted them, I wonder? It certainly indicates and indeed foments or at least fosters an adversarial relationship between landlord and tenant which I suspect few on this forum would identify with. Sure, there are some objectionable tenants and if their relationship with the landlord has broken down landlords may in the past have resorted to issuing a Section 21. When this remedy is no longer available vetting of prospectuve tenants will need to pay careful attention to attitudes and temperament in addition to the usual referencing and financial enquiries.

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