Nearly half of all tenants have reported illegal acts by their letting agents or landlords, a new report from Shelter has claimed.
The tenant lobbying organisation says research carried out on its behalf by YouGov among 3,5000 private tenants revealed that the most common illegal activity was landlords or letting agents entering a property without permission, or 25% of all occurrences.
YouGov also found that 22% of those it interviewed said essential safety or household appliances like smoke alarms, central heating or water supplies were not working when they moved into a property.
And 18% said their landlord or letting agent had broken the law by failing to secure their deposit in an approved Government protection scheme, while 9% said they’d been threatened or harassed by their landlord or letting agent.
Nathan Emerson (pictured), CEO of estate and letting agent body Propertymark says: “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 says it hopes this research will stiffen the government’s resolve to introduce a Rent Reform Bill later this year which, the organisation hopes, will include a national landlord register.
Polly Neate (pictured), Shelter’s chief executive says: “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.”