An investigation from charity group Shelter has presented concerning findings regarding the relationship between landlords and their tenants.
According to the research, complaints about landlords to relevant local authorities have risen by 27% over the past three years.
Following Shelter’s freedom of information request to all councils in England, the results showed that 85,000 complaints have been made to local authorities in the past twelve months.
Complaints About Landlords Increase
Worryingly, 62% of complaints lodged were in regards to serious or life-threatening hazards. More concerning still was in 781 cases, landlords’ actions or neglect led to health services becoming involved.
In addition, there was an increase of 77% in prosecutions against private landlords, with 487 instances. Notably, they were primarily handed out by a small minority of councils, including Manchester and Leeds.
In the wake of the report, Shelter is urging more tenants to speak out against rogue landlords. Chief Executive of Shelter, Campbell Robb, said: “Despite the significant increase in complaints, we believe that the number of rogue landlords is still underestimated.” He went on to suggest: “Some local authorities don’t keep records of complaints and tenants often hold back from complaining out of fear of the consequences.” This is hard to believe, Robb believes, considering “such a high proportion of complaints are about life-threatening issues.”
Thankfully, in response to over two years of campaigning by Shelter, the Government has announced plans to set up a taskforce dedicated to eradicating rogue landlords. In addition, there are plans to invest £1.8m into tackling so-called beds in sheds and fines imposed on rogue landlords will now have no limits.
Welcoming the changes, Mr Robb warns: “There is still much to be done.” He believes that it is “ultimately local authorities that must do everything in their power to support people who are suffering by cracking down on the worst offenders in their area.”