Renters in Britain’s private rented sector are not pushing for enough repairs to their homes as they are afraid they may be evicted as a result, a new research found.
The report was put together by Citizen Advice, a charity, and revealed that 41% of tenants (or 1.85m homes) are waiting longer than they usually should for their landlords to organise necessary repairs.
The report had a closer look at the last four years and based its findings on this time frame.
In a best case scenario, living in a home in poor condition can be inconvenient to your everyday life. In a worst case scenario is can lead to serious health problems.
Problems described by tenants vary from anything like a broken window or hot water outage to even leaks and dangerous electricals.
Landlords in the private rented sector (PRS) have a legal responsibility to fix problems within a reasonable time frame. The amount of time they get to fix an issue depends on the severity of the issue and can range from 1 month to only 24 hours (for the most serious cases).
Findings, however, reveal that renters aren’t holding their landlords as accountable as they should. In a report called “It’s broke, let’s fix it”, the tenant’s fear of being evicted has been named as the main reason for this.
The report said that about 57% of tenants who could be compensated (meaning they’ve waited longer than they have to and should be receiving financial compensation) explained that they chose not to because they were afraid of losing their home.
In addition to that, another 51% shared concerns that their landlord may increase their rent if they didn’t stop complaining.
Citizens Advice is now calling for better protection against being evicted without a solid reason. They ask for new bodies to be introduced into the PRS to regulate the relationship between landlord and tenant.
Gillian Guy, Citizen Advice’s chief executive, commented:
“Renters should be able to ask for repairs to their home without fear of retaliation. Homes in poor condition are the most common private rented sector issue people turn to Citizens Advice for help with.”
“Issues such as broken fittings, faulty electricals or leaks can make life hard for renters and can even lead to ill health. But renters aren’t pursuing their rights to repair because they are worried their landlord will put up their rent or evict them. To add to this, formal routes to redress aren’t being used either because they’re too difficult and expensive,” she continued.
“Rent is the most expensive costs households face, but protections for renters simply don’t reflect this. The new Government needs to make it easier for people to have their rights enforced when their home is in poor condition. The redress process also needs to give renters protection from retaliatory action, so they feel confident reporting a problem in their home and don’t feel like their only option is to dip into their own pocket,” she explained.