Almost half of renters in England have been victims of illegal behaviour from landlords or lettings agents, Shelter claims.
The stark allegations – equivalent to 3.7m people - from the housing charity came as a YouGov study of 3,500 renters revealed the most common illegal behaviour that tenants have experienced.
The most common issue was landlords or agents entering a tenant’s home without permission or notice, cited by a quarter of respondents.
A fifth cited issues with safety standards such as smoke alarms, heating or water supplies not working, while 18 per cent said their landlord or agent failed to secured their deposit in an approved scheme.
The charity is calling for the Renters’ Reform Bill to include a National Landlord Register to ensure landlords fulfil their legal obligations, help regulate the private rental sector, and give renters the power to enforce their rights against law-breaking behaviour.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Home is everything. Yet millions of private renters across the country don’t feel safe or secure in theirs because of landlords and agents who flout the law. People should not have to put up with broken safety alarms, strangers bursting into their homes unannounced or the threat of harassment and violence.
“Nobody is above the law and renters are tired of being powerless to enforce their rights.”