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Charity returns to the attack over alleged ‘revenge evictions’

The Citizens Advice consumer charity claims that 28 per cent of private tenants who have experienced problems while renting have not reported them for fear of being evicted. 

The charity says that based on its experiences advising private renters, more than two in five of its staff said people “worrying about the consequences of complaining” was the biggest issue for tenants seeking redress for problems.

Repairs and maintenance are the most common issue that private tenants needed help for from Citizens Advice.

More than 13,000 issues about problems such as mould, electrical faults and pest infestation were dealt with by advisers in person, over the phone, by email and via webchat last year.

CA is now calling on the government to use the planned introduction of an ombudsman for private landlords to further protect tenants from so-called revenge evictions.

Last year Citizens Advice recommended all private landlords be required to join a dispute resolution scheme after it found 41 per cent of tenants waited longer than is reasonable for repairs to be carried out.

As a result, 33 per cent of people gave up on asserting their right to repair, 13 per cent paid out of their own pocket and seven per cent relocated.

The charity says any redress scheme for private renters should be simple to use, with a single, recognisable portal through which tenants can register complaints. It should have the enforcement powers to punish rogue landlords and mandatory membership so all renters are protected and all landlords are included.

Landlords who receive the most complaints should pay more towards the running of an ombudsman, keeping the costs low for the majority, the charity says.

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