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Local authorities are letting down tenants, say landlords

Two landlord associations have criticised local councils for a lack of enforcement and failing to prosecute criminal landlords. 

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) says tenants are being let down, while the National Landlords Association (NLA) claims it’s 'too easy' for landlords to get away with unlawful behaviour.

The united message comes in response to figures released by housing charity Shelter which show that one in eight tenants are suffering due to a landlord who has broken the law.

Shelter's study, which surveyed over 3,000 renters, found that over 7% of tenants' landlords had entered a rental property without permission.

The report also suggests that the equivalent of 64,000 tenants have had their utilities cut off without consent and the equivalent of 200,000 have been abused, threatened or harassed by their landlord.

The charity says that it is a minority of landlords causing these problems, but reports it has had over 220,000 unique visits to its website pages for advice on problems with landlords over the last year.

“Every day at Shelter we speak to people at the end of their tether after a law-breaking landlord has caused chaos in their lives," says Danielle Goodwin, helpline adviser at Shelter.

"These range from instances where the renter has been unaware of their rights, to cases where renters are exploited and subjected to terrible experiences by a minority of law breaking landlords."

Richard Lambert, chief executive of the NLA, says: “These figures highlight serious issues that are simply unacceptable but our research with tenants shows that 82% say they are happy with their current landlord.” 

"Furthermore, Shelter’s figures show the vast majority of landlords to be law abiding."

Andrew Goodacre, the RLA's chief executive, adds: "[We are] fully supportive of regulations that protect tenants but the reality is that we can regulate all we like but without proper enforcement it becomes meaningless."

"Tenants are being let down by local authorities who are failing to properly enforce the powers available to them to tackle the criminal minority of landlords.”

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    And who protects the landlords from criminal tenants?

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    RLA and NLA have lots of stories about bad tenants! We should talk about this.

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    Tenants without approval had sublet to many tenants, the furniture was heavily damaged, of course they don't want landlords to check the property or do inspections. Maybe this is where the 7% of the tenants' landlords enter the property without permission is coming from? Don't judge the numbers, there is a story and reason behind all the numbers. SHELTER should wake up and stop taking the side of the tenants. Why don't SHELTER print a tenants' handbook to guide them how to be law-abiding tenants?

  • Jon Wilson

    Well they do : http://m.england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/private_renting/about_private_renting/tenants_responsibilities

    Whereas I agree that more could be done to educate tenants and support them by a range of organisations it still doesn't excuse a landlord breaking the law. There is very little enforcement this is why it's pretty easy to get away with it. I'm sure the decent landlords (which are the majority) rarely have to worry about LA enforcement because they usually give a chance for wrongs to be righted. It's only the very worst offenders they would go hard after. (The kind of landlord s who would never be reading articles like this anyway!)

    It's good to hear RLA. And NLA talk about this.

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    Don't let the few bad landlords to let us destroy the industry. There is a very bad atmosphere to against landlords in the market. I don't think this is the right direction for Shelter, CAB, ..etc.. Good landlords do not have enough support on how to stop the bad tenants' unlawful behaviour because of the law! Where should landlords turn to when the tenants did not pay rent? who punish the tenants to sublet illegally? We have a lot on our hands to think about what to do on those tenants rather than targeting the whole landlords. RLA and NLA have a lot of stories about the tenants' behaviour.

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    Is there such a thing as a tenant's guide about how to live in a house a look after it properly so that it is comfortable to live in? If there is or if someone were to write one a useful bit of legislation would be to make landlords / agents provide a copy of the book and to make tenants sign to say they have read it.

    I am about to have to fork out cash for a refit of a flat and I feel more than a bit piqued. There is nothing wrong with the flat. It is in a block and the other flats in the block are fine. The only thing wrong with my flat is the idiots who live in it.

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    Sorry, I just spotted that Shelter do have a guide book.

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    I have an expert-written guide on keeping condensation at bay. One of the pieces of advice (particularly since the advent of PVC windows that effectively seal up a house and eliminate the somewhat important draught that airs a property) was to keep the internal temperature above 20'C. Many of the tenant I come across only seem to stick their heating on for an hour in the morning and an hour at night. They are not using the property correctly in order to maintain it.

    You might not be able to afford to regularly top up the oil in a car, but you can hardly blame the seller/manufacturer when things start to go wrong.

    More education needs to be imparted on tenants. They have a duty to act in a tenant-like manner.

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