Survey reveals extent of UK residential tenant fears over maintenance issues

Taylor Scott International News

One in five tenants in the UK has been evicted by their landlord or agent for complaining about problems, such as faulty boilers and leaking roofs, it is claimed. A survey conducted by online lettings agents PropertyLetByUs, also 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 at 28%, followed by leaking roofs at 22%, faulty showers and mould and condensation at 14%, leaking bathroom and window locks at 10%, broken windows at 8% and finally smoke alarms, pests and vermin at 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. ‘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,’ said the firm’s managing director Jane Morris. She explained that there has been a lot of industry discussion on so called revenge evictions over the last few months. For example, there was a case earlier this year of a tenant who was ordered to leave his home in Ashford, Kent because the boiler in his £695 a month home kept failing. ‘It us 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,’ said Morris. ‘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,’ she added. PropertyLetByUs has put together some guidelines on landlord response times for tenant complaints. It points out that 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 should be dealt with within 24 hours, cookers within 48 hours and other broken appliances such as washing machines and dish washers should be attended to within 72 hours. ‘Communication is key and the landlord or agent should keep the tenant… Continue reading →

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