Have you had issues with a landlord or agent? (We know many of you have). Well, it turns out that you’re not alone as the latest survey on the topic – from mortgage and loans provider Ocean Finance – has found that more than 50% of tenants in the UK have had issues over the last 12 months. At The Tenant’s Voice we’ve been painfully aware of this ever since we were first set up, both as a result of our community forums and our own research. Back in 2013 the results of our survey of 2,000 UK tenants, were widely reported in the press, showing that more than half (51%) of people had bad experiences with landlords or letting agents. It would appear that little has changed in the lettings world if the Ocean Finance survey is anything to go by.
What the Ocean Finance survey found was that tenants had suffered a whole range of issues over the last year, many of which revolved around poor maintenance. Structural issues were at the root of the problems for 15% of tenants – for example, damp a leaking roof or rotten window frames. Unexpected rent increases caused problems for 14% of tenants and this category also included disputes over deductions from deposits and being evicted early as a result of a landlord selling up. The survey revealed that 13% had suffered long delays with respect to getting repairs done, for example replacing broken furniture or fixing washing machines.
The survey figures were pretty bad from across the country but in London, the number who had experienced problems shot up to 60%, indicating that the capital really is one of the worst places to be a tenant. 35% of respondents from all over the country indicated that they had made a complaint but that issues had still not been fixed and 13% had no idea where to turn for help, with 5% refusing to pay their rent until issues had been resolved. A spokesperson for Ocean Finance highlighted that “One of the problems may be a lack of clarity over whose responsibility it is to maintain different aspects of a property. Often the landlord believes the tenant is responsible for doing repairs that in fact they are obligated to make.”
This is something that we have seen repeatedly on The Tenant’s Voice and one of the issues that our site is designed to resolve. Landlords who don’t understand their responsibilities are one of the biggest headaches for tenants, and agents – who should be correcting this kind of problem – often simply don’t step in or don’t understand the requirements themselves. This is why we have introduced our Vetted Letting Agents rankings, to offer tenants a way of knowing in advance that the agency they’re going to be renting through has a good grasp of what the landlord is responsible for. Agents are required to sign up to our Code of Conduct, which includes a section on ‘Encouraging Landlords To Be Better,’ designed to ensure that bad landlords have nowhere to hide. So, if you want to avoid being one of the statistics from the Ocean Finance research, demand that your agents are The Tenant’s Voice approved – together we can change the face of the UK lettings industry for the better.