Almost a third of tenants experience a lack of hot water and/or heating at some point during their tenancy.
Online letting agent PropertyLetByUs conducted the study, and also revealed that the second highest complaint in rental properties is a leaking roof, with 22% of respondents suffering from this issue.1
14% of complaints are for mould and condensation, and faulty showers. Problematic window locks accounted for 10%, and 8% were for broken windows.1
6% of all complaints are for faulty smoke alarms, as well as pests and vermin. Noisy neighbours caused 4%, and problems with fire escapes 2%.1
The survey also found that some tenants (20%) are left waiting up to two months to have issues fixed, while 12% of tenants have witnessed their landlord never fixing the problem. Only a third of tenants said that their landlord fixes problems quickly, within a couple of days.1
PropertyLetByUs’ Managing Director, Jane Morris, says: “Landlords have a duty of care for their tenants and leaving problems, such as faulty boilers, can be very dangerous and put lives at risk. Some tenants are having to wait long periods of time to get problems fixed, which is unacceptable. It is worrying that only a third of landlords deal with tenant problems quickly.”1
The company referred to a case recently, where two landlords in Kent were fined £20,000 for leaving a property so severely damaged by damp that it posed a risk to tenants’ health. The landlords had left tenants living in damp conditions and without heating for over two years. The flat was also lacking a fire safety alarm.1
Morris continues: “Whilst this may be an extreme case, the message is clear. Landlords and agents should deal with maintenance issues as quickly as possible. If they delay, issues can deteriorate, resulting in a higher cost to the landlord or tenant. It is also important that landlords or their agent make regular maintenance checks, ideally every three months, so they can identify potential and existing issues and sort them quickly.”1
The firm also reinforced that landlords and agents must provide tenants with advice on the steps they should be taking whilst awaiting contractors, such as turning off gas taps, to ensure that any issue does not cause danger to life and property.
Gas or major electrical faults are classed as urgent and should be fixed within 24 hours at least. This also applies to heating and hot water, particularly in cold months.
Water leaks should be attended to within 24 hours, cookers within 48 hours, and other broken appliances within 72 hours, such as washing machines.
The landlord or letting agent should always keep tenants informed on the course of action when sorting an issue.