A trade body claims a quarter of a million private tenants are withholding rent from landlords who fail to make essential repairs to their properties.
The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks claims research shows that 34 per cent of private tenants have faced a home emergency in the past 12 months; only one in three were dealt with on the same day while almost a quarter took more than a week to resolve.
”Landlords have a duty of care with tenants and should be responding in hours, not days. We had a case where a boiler stopped working for seven weeks during the coldest part of the winter, so no heating or hot water was available” says Pat Barber, the chair of the AIIC.
The founder of tenant repair reporting specialists Fixflo, Rajeev Nayyer, thinks this survey of tenants’ problems may show just the tip of the iceberg.
“The speed and quality of assessing and responding to tenants’ repairs will take centre stage in the next few months. We’re in an age of the Tenants’ Charter and mandatory redress schemes, so repairs have to be taken seriously by landlords and letting agents” insists Nayyer.
Meanwhile the AIIC - which says it offers independent skilled clerks to conduct inventories on behalf of tenants, landlords or lettings agents - suggests landlords should:
- Attend to any gas, major electrical fault or water leak within 24 hours;
- Rectify any cooker malfunction within 48 hours;
- Repair other broken appliances like washing machines or dish washers in 72 hours.