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1 in 5 tenants have been evicted for complaining

Date online: 04/09/2014

The survey, conducted by PropertyLetByUs, a leading online letting agents reveals that nearly a third of tenants are fearful of evictions if they complain about maintenance issues.

The most common cause of complaints are faulty boilers (28%), leaking roofs (22%), faulty showers and mould and condensation (14%), leaking bathroom and window locks (10%); broken windows (8%); smoke alarms and pests and vermin (6%).

The research also shows that some tenants are waiting a long time to get problems fixed.  Nearly 20% of tenants are having to wait one to two months, while 12% of tenants have experienced landlords that never fix the problem.  Just a third report their landlord fixes problems quickly - within a couple of days.

Jane Morris, Managing Director of Propertyletbyus.com comments: “It is shocking that tenants are living in fear of being evicted and that many have to wait a considerable amount of time to get problems fixed.

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.  We have seen a lot of industry discussion on ‘revenge evictions’ over the last few months.  The case earlier this year, of a tenant of Britain's most controversial landlords, Fergus and Judith Wilson, who was ordered to leave his home in Ashford, Kent because the boiler in his £695-a-month home kept failing, is an example of a worrying trend.”

According to Shelter, in the past year alone, more than 200,000 people have faced eviction.  It’s high time the Government considered a system to encourage more good landlords into the market to increase the stock available and its quality.

I welcome the calls made by the industry for extra tax breaks to improve private rental housing and fully support the call for effective regulation to tackle rogue landlords.”

PropertyLetByUs has put together some guidelines on landlord response times for tenant complaints:

• Landlords and agents have a duty of care to advise tenants on the correct course of action while contractors are organised, such as turning off gas taps, water stop cocks or main electricity supplies, to ensure that any problem does not cause danger to life and property.

• Any gas or major electrical fault is classed as urgent and should be attended to within 24 hours or less. This also applies when heating or hot water is affected, especially during cold weather.

• Water leaks – within 24 hours
• Cookers – within 48 hours
• Other broken appliances - washing machines, dish washers etc should be attended to within 72 hours.
• Communication is key and the landlord or agent should keep the tenant informed of the action

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