PRS Tenants Living In Fear Of
A new survey has revealed that some tenants in private rented sector properties are living in fear of eviction because they had dared to complain to the landlord about outstanding repairs.
A third of tenants have been evicted or threatened with eviction after complaining to their landlord, according to new research carried out by online tenant community The Tenants’ Voice.
- 61% of tenants said they were wary about complaining to their landlords
- 71% of tenants have paid for repairs themselves rather than ask their landlords.
The survey suggests that a growing number of PRS tenants are facing retaliatory evictions because they voiced concerns over repairs. Desperate, cash strapped landlords have avoided taking out adequate Landlord Insurance policies to protect their rental properties and instead served section 21 notices to bring about the end of a periodic tenancy, rather than undertake the repairs that the tenants have requested, hoping that any new tenant won’t complain as much.
The UK tenant survey found that many tenants worry about asking their landlords to carry out repairs in fear of reprisals.
71% of tenants paid for rental property repairs themselves rather than reporting the problem to their landlords, and 61% of tenants surveyed said they had asked their landlords to make repairs in the past and that the landlords had either been very difficult or had just refused to sort the problem out.
63% of tenants admitted they were wary about approaching their landlords because they were worried about what their reaction might be.
As a result, 55% of PRS tenants are living in rented property that has outstanding repair issues, but prefer to put up with the problem rather than repeatedly asking their landlords to make good the repair.
- 58% of tenants surveyed have outstanding problems associated with damp
- 54% of tenants surveyed have made complaints to their landlords about the general state of disrepair of the property
- 36% of tenants surveyed had outstanding boiler repairs
- 32% of tenants surveyed said they had outstanding electrical issues
- 32% of tenants surveyed had exterior and garden issues
- 19% of tenants surveyed had also made more common complaints to their landlords
Glenn Nickols, director of The Tenants’ Voice, said: “While 86% of tenants have never heard of retaliatory evictions according to our poll, a third of the tenants we surveyed who have been evicted or threatened with eviction have actually fallen foul of this practice. Landlords have a responsibility to ensure that the property they are renting is fit for purpose, and that means ensuring that any reasonable requests that are made by their tenants are dealt with promptly. Tenants need to feel comfortable about approaching their landlord about any issues that arise. Suffering in silence because they’re worried about what their landlords might say could have potentially devastating consequences. It’s clear more needs to be done to educate both landlords and tenants about their responsibilities and rights to ensure a healthy tenant-landlord relationship.”
With so many tenants fearful about discussing repairs or other problems directly with the landlord, it is little surprise that 61% of tenants surveyed would prefer to deal with a lettings or property management agent over repairs and maintenance.
The situation of retaliatory eviction of tenants for chasing outstanding repairs is utter madness. Landlords have a duty of care to ensure that their rental properties are safe and fit to live in, even if that does involve spending money for repairs. Evicting tenants just because they discover a problem is ludicrous, what income will be received if the rental property is empty (void) and no new tenants are interested because they can see that there are outstanding issues?
Landlords should remember that renting property to tenants is a business and tenants have an obligation to report all issues to the landlord or their appointed agents as soon as they become apparent. If problems are identified by tenants and investigated early then, although repairs may have to be made, the problem should be easier and quicker to put right, rather than allowing damage to worsen, costing the landlord even more money in the long term.
If you are a landlord who cannot afford to make repairs on your rental properties, then may I suggest that property investment isn’t for you, as you are not prepared to take the correct actions needed to protect your investment assets.
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