Sunday, 05 July 2015

Complaining to landlords causes a third of tenant eviction threats

A survey has found that 32 per cent of renters who have been evicted, or threatened with eviction, were put in this position after making a complaint to their landlord.

Website The Tenants’ Voice found these ‘retaliatory evictions’, where landlords evict a tenant after their statutory minimum tenancy period rather than undertake repairs requested by them, were due to complaints about the condition of a property or after asking for repair work to be carried out.

Seventy-one per cent of tenants have paid for repairs to a rental property rather than report the problem to their landlords while 61 per cent of tenants polled said they had asked their landlords to make repairs and that the landlords had been difficult or refused.

More than half, 55 per cent, of renters said they are living with an ongoing issuse, but would rather live with the problem than ask their landlord to fix it.

Problems associated with damp were the top complaint for tenants, 58 per cent, while more than half, 54 per cent, have complained to their landlords about the general state of disrepair of the property.

Glenn Nickols, director of The Tenants’ Voice, said: ‘While 86 per cent 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.

‘If tenants are not comfortable about approaching their landlords then a good letting agent can be extremely helpful in resolving any problems, and we want to encourage a stronger relationship between letting agents and landlords, to support tenants, and ensure that repairs and property related issues are resolved quickly.

‘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.’

Susan Fitz-Gibbon, president of The Association of Residential Letting Agents, said: ‘If you are worried about any aspect of a tenancy, seek advice from a letting agent affiliated to a professional organization like ARLA. If your tenancy is managed by an ARLA agent, they can act as a useful mediator between yourself and the landlord.’

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