Weak and confusing regulation of private renting is leaving hundreds of thousands of tenants living in hazardous homes in England, research by Citizens Advice has revealed.
A survey of landlords and tenants conducted by ComRes on behalf of Citizens Advice revealed many landlords don’t know or understand their legal obligations, while renters aren’t aware of their rights or don’t feel able to enforce them.
This means that many tenants live in homes with health-affecting hazards such as mould or dangerous problems such as inoperative or missing smoke or carbon monoxide alarms.
The government has made reforms in the private rented sector in recent years, such as laws to ensure all rented homes are fit to be lived in, banning most tenant fees, and proposed the abolition of “no-fault” section 21 evictions.
However, renters lack the power they need to ensure standards are consistent, and landlords and tenants lack the knowledge they need for standards to be upheld.
Citizens Advice helped almost 60,000 people with issues related to private renting last year. One in four (24%) had issues getting repairs completed and more than 2,500 were being harassed by their landlord.
The charity wants a national housing body for private renting to set standards, which could include creating a home “MOT”, setting a “fit-and-proper-person” test for landlords and standardising rental contracts. Some three quarters (75%) of landlords agree a single national housing body responsible for setting standards would make their job easier.
The government’s ban on tenant fees came into effect on 1st June 2019. To discover more visit wearecitizensadvice.org.uk
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