45% of private renters have suffered from illegal acts by landlords

Nearly half (45%) of England’s private renters have experienced illegal behaviour from a landlord or letting agent – such as entering their home without giving notice, Shelter research found.

Illegal entry is the most common misdemeanor, reported by 25% of tenants, while 22% have experienced issues with essential safety or household appliances like smoke alarms, central heating or water supplies not working when moving in.

Some 18% also say their landlord or letting agent has failed to secure their deposit in an approved Government Protection Scheme.

There are also extreme cases, as 9% say they have been assaulted, threatened or harassed by their landlord or letting agent.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Home is everything. Yet millions of private renters across the country don’t feel safe or secure in theirs because of landlords and agents who flout the law. People should not have to put up with broken safety alarms, strangers bursting into their homes unannounced or the threat of harassment and violence.

“Enough is enough. Nobody is above the law and renters are tired of being powerless to enforce their rights. The government has promised voters a fairer private renting system that punishes illegal behaviour by landlords and letting agents.

“To deliver on this promise, its Renters’ Reform Bill must include a National Landlord Register that makes landlords fully accountable and helps drive up standards across private renting.”

Shelter called on the government to provide greater protections for tenants ahead of the Conservative Party conference from the 3rd to the 5th of October.

The housing charity warned that the upcoming, landmark Renters’ Reform Bill must include a National Landlord Register to ensure landlords fulfil their legal obligations, help regulate the private rental sector, and give renters the power to enforce their rights against law-breaking behaviour.

Nathan Emerson, chief executive of estate and letting agent body Propertymark, responded to the research by calling for the regulation of property agents.

He said: “Shelter’s figures are disheartening as our members do and have worked tirelessly, particularly throughout the pandemic, to maintain tenancies and ensure that properties are safe and meet a high standard even whilst under restricted working conditions.

“As in any industry there are a minority who operate to poor standards, but to stamp out bad practice we have long called for the full and mandatory regulation of property agents – an issue which is yet to be tackled by the UK government or indeed publicly supported by Shelter themselves.

“Their evidence clearly supports the need for regulation, and we would encourage Shelter to formally back the recommendations published in July 2019.”

Shelter provided a case study with the research, from a self-employed tenant in a private rental with two daughters.

Before moving in, her landlord illegally installed an unregistered gas boiler in one of the bedrooms. She grew concerned when one of her daughters started suffering from headaches, as the boiler was in the daughter’s bedroom.

They stopped using the room until the engineer made sure the boiler was safe.

The issue was reported to the council, which never responded, and the landlord served a Section 21 eviction notice in response of the complaint.

The tenant in question, using the alias of Louise, said: “He’s still getting away scot-free with illegal behaviour and putting us through so much stress.

“I know how he behaved was not right, but I feel powerless. When you’re paying to rent a home, people should have more rights.”

This isn’t the first time weeding out rogue landlords has been put in the spotlight this year.

In August the National Residential Landlords Association said the government needed to do more to tackle rogue landlords, adding that there’s a lack of enforcement from understaffed local authorities.

Indeed, its research found that half of local authorities in England have not issued any civil penalties against rogue or criminal landlords in the last three years.

Comments 2

  1. Lets see, who’s figures are more reputable, Shelters small, biased study ( only tenants who’ve had a problem respond ) or ;
    English Housing Survey that shows 84% of Tenants as satisfied.
    How do Shelter ‘square’ that ?

  2. It’s about time shelter started housing people instead of moaning about the people who actually do. 45% of tenants have landlord problems? How many were asked? Just their mates in Generation Rent I expect. I don’t know every landlord in the land but I bet 100% of them have had some trouble with tenants at some point. Everything from actual damage way beyond wear and tear, attempts at decoration that have to be put right, unauthorised pets, antisocial behaviour, over-crowding, rent arrears and tenants who don’t know how a hoover works or hermetically seal off the house, dry washing on radiators and then complain about mould affecting their kids allergies. Does any of this sound familiar to other landlords out there?

Leave a Reply