Asktenants.co.uk - United against rogue landlords | The Tenants' Voice
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Asktenants.co.uk - United against rogue landlords

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Rogue landlords mould

This blog post was originally published on Asktenants.co.uk

Asktenants.co.uk allows tenants to rate their rental property and landlord. The website now holds thousands of landlord reviews by tenants and provides free public access to these reviews. Asktenants.co.uk provides an online platform for tenants to expose rogue landlords and praise good ones.

Why did we start the website?

We moved from India to the UK in 2005 and have rented a number of properties in last 12 years. The motivation for the website came from our last rented property. During summer hundreds of carpet moths emerged and flew all over the house and during winter black mould was omnipresent. This resulted in 12 months of total misery.

The landlady blamed us for not opening windows and drying laundry inside. Professionals surveyors suggested that property had structural issues which the landlady did not want to deal with. The reason being that it cost £2,500 to install dehumidifying units. We offered to pay for the units as rent in advance but she did not take the offer.  Estate agents said that we could not leave without paying 12 months of rent upfront as we had a 12-month break clause. For the local council, this was a relatively minor issue as they had a lot worse cases to deal with.

Tenants must know more about the landlord and property they are committing to for six to twelve months. This burning need led to start of Asketnants.co.uk – A landlord and property review website.

How has the journey been?

In the last year since the launch of Asktenants.co.uk, we have realised how widespread the issue of rogue landlords is. About 10% of tenants suffered rodent infestation which was unresolved until they moved out of the property. Frustrated tenants have shared their misery on how it feels when mice and rats make your night sleep a living hell.

More than a third of tenants have faced mould which was not resolved till they moved out of the property.

Tenants on benefits are most affected by rogue landlords as it’s difficult to find alternate private accommodation while on benefits. Tenants living in HMO (House of multiple occupations) and students had miserable experiences due to poor housing conditions and invasive landlords.

We now realise that poor quality private renting by rogue landlords is an epidemic with millions of tenants suffering.

What are real life experiences of tenants?

A picture is worth a thousand words – below are some of the pictures shared by tenants on Asktenants.co.uk. These pictures show rogue landlords who rented out houses where:

  • A piece of ceiling fell off in the kitchen, narrowly missing small children living inside the property.
  • A child in a rented house helplessly looking towards chronic respiratory complications as mould has permanently set in the property and in the air he breathes.
  • Mice, rats and dangerous electrical wiring which electricians called ‘a death trap’.

You can see gruesome photographs of the above in the original publication.

A deeply concerned mother sent us a copy of a letter from their GP saying how mould has affected the health of her young child in the picture. Tenants have contacted landlords to no effect and the council is not helpful too.

There are many more stories of good and rogue landlords. Read them on our blog

How can Asktenants.co.uk help resolve this?

The issue of rogue landlords is an epidemic with no one solution but a combination of multiple actions. Issues range from relatively less serious like ours – mould and damp to extreme cases posing a life-threatening risk to tenants – dangerous electrical wiring chewed through by mice and rats infesting the property. All the issues need dealing with. There are potentially millions of properties with issues like chronic mould, mice, etc. Councils alone cannot solve this issue.

With Asktenants.co.uk we have come up with TripAdvisor type solution to this problem. Landlords are most concerned about the market valuation of their property. A bad review on Asktenants.co.uk potentially will bring issues to the property in public domain hurting this valuation. Websites like apartmentratings.com have been offering landlord ratings in the US for over a decade now. This has helped in improving the quality of rented properties. There is no reason why UK cannot benefit from a similar concept.

Good landlords love the idea of Asktenants.co.uk and have signed up with a ‘Landlord Account’ where they can respond to tenants review. Rogue landlords have viciously opposed the idea saying “if tenants don’t like the property, they can find somewhere else to live”. Rogue landlords are hoping that site never takes off in a big way but we are determined to make it a success.

We will only succeed if more tenants come forward to rate their current or former rental property on Asktenants.co.uk. Both good and bad experiences need sharing so we can isolate the minority of rogue landlords from the majority of good ones. Help us make the difference by rating your rental on Asktenants.co.uk. It only takes 2 minutes to rate.