Over half of tenants have experienced problems with their rental homes in the last 12 months, according to research by Ocean Finance.
The biggest issue, for 15% of tenants, was that their landlord did not fix structural problems, including damp, leaking roofs or rotten window frames.
A further 13% of respondents experienced delays with repairs to broken furniture, showers and washing machines. 14% of tenants suffered unexpected rent rises, disputes over deductions from their deposits and early eviction when their landlord sold the property.
Tenants in London suffered the most, with 60% saying that they had problems in the past year. This is unsurprising, as over 10m people live in private rental sector accommodation in the capital. The East Midlands and the rest of the South East followed.
Even though they complained to the landlord or letting agent, 35% of tenants said their problems were not solved. 13% did not know who to turn to for advice and 5% refused to pay rent until the landlord resolved the issue.
A spokesperson for Ocean Finance, Gareth Shilton, comments on the findings: “Landlords have an obligation to ensure that the properties they let are well maintained and safe for their tenants to live in.
“The research indicates that many tenants are renting sub-standard properties. It’s also concerning that people are facing mid-tenancy rent increases or have money unexpectedly taken from their deposits.
“One of the problems may be a lack of clarity over whose responsibility it is to maintain different aspects of a property. Often the landlord believes the tenant is responsible for doing repairs that in fact they are obliged to make.”
Shilton continues: “It’s worrying to see that more than half of tenants experienced problems with their homes in the past 12 months. If you have any issues with your rented property you should contact your landlord or letting agent immediately. If you don’t get the problem resolved, then go to your Citizens Advice Bureau, or as a final route, the Housing Ombudsman Service, which acts as a mediation service.
“All tenants are obliged to look after their rented homes. However, you need to always remember that, as a tenant, you also have the right to have your home kept in a good state of repair by the landlord.”1