Over half of UK tenants had problems over last 12 months, survey finds

More than half of tenants surveyed in the UK say they have experienced problems with their rented homes over the past 12 months, ranging from poor maintenance to breaches of their contract.

The biggest problem, cited by 15% of respondents, was their landlord’s failure to fix structural problems including damp, a leaking roof or rotten window frames, according to the research mortgage and loans provider Ocean Finance.

A further 13% of tenants suffered delays in repairing broken furniture, showers and washing machines. 14% of tenants faced unexpected increases in their rent, disputes over money deducted from their deposits and even early eviction when their landlord sold their property.

Tenants in London, where more than 10 million people live in private rental accommodation, fared the worst, with 60% saying they experienced problems in the past 12 months. This was followed by those in the East Midlands and the rest of the South East region.

Some 35% of tenants said even though they complained to the landlord or letting agent, the problems were not fixed. While 13% said they didn’t know who to turn to for advice and 5% even took matters into their own hands and refused to pay their rent until the landlord resolved the problem.

‘Landlords have an obligation to ensure that the properties they let are well maintained and safe for their tenants to live in. The research indicates that many tenants are renting sub-standard properties. It’s also concerning that people are facing mid-tenancy rent increases or have money unexpectedly taken from their deposits,’ said Gareth Shilton, a spokesman for Ocean.

‘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,’ he added.