Nearly Half of Renters Subject to Illegal Landlord Behaviour

Written By PropertyLoop
September 15, 2021

The housing and homeless charity Shelter have revealed damming claims that 45% of renters within the English private rental sector have been the victims of illegal conduct carried out by their landlord. 

The survey conducted by YouGov for Shelter, which saw 3,500 tenants take part, reported that 25% of renters had issues with their landlord or letting agent entering their home without first obtaining their consent; therefore, breaching the occupants right to “quiet enjoyment of the property.” 

Further to this 22% of the surveyed tenants shared that there were significant risks to their safety and wellbeing with white goods, heating utility supplies and smoke alarms being unfit for purpose. Rather concerningly almost a fifth of renters that contributed to the findings stated that their landlords or letting agent had neglected to enter the amounts paid for the security deposit into a government approved deposit protection scheme. The survey also showed that 9% of private renters within England have also been harassed or threatened by the landlord or letting agent. 

Chief executive of Shelter, Polly Neate commented that, ““Enough is enough. Nobody is above the law and renters are tired of being powerless to enforce their rights. 

“The government has promised voters a fairer private renting system that punishes illegal behaviour by landlords and letting agents. To deliver on this promise, its Renters’ Reform Bill must include a National Landlord Register that makes landlords fully accountable and helps drive up standards across private renting.” 

However, these claims were quickly refuted by, Landlords action’s founder Paul Shamplina who argued that the statistics used “are not a true reflection” of the private rental sector, saying, “the 3500 tenants you would have surveyed are tenants that have contacted you, who naturally have issues with their landlords, so their percentage will be way higher.” 

“Didn’t the English Housing Survey say 83% of tenants are happy with their accommodation in the PRS. Of course, there is a lot of work to be done in raising standards.” 

Banning Order Offences PropertyLoop

Is There a Landlord Database

Thanks to the Housing and Planning Act 2016, local authorities are able to enact banning orders against landlords that are found to use illegal conduct. With each banning order a rogue landlord should be added to the national database of landlords, however the UK government has stated that although there could be as many as 10,500 rogue landlords across the UK a dismal 43 have been recorded on the database.  

Banning Order Offences

Local authorities are empowered to issue a banning order if the landlord is found to have carried out an illegal eviction, harassed or threatened the occupants of the property, neglected to comply with the conditions of an improvement notice, or prohibition order issued by the courts. Further to this if the landlord is found to lack the appreciate license for their rental they could be issued with a banning order. As can be expected if the owner of the rental has failed to ensure the property adheres to all safety standards, be in breach of gas and electrical regulations, charged the tenant fees that are prohibited by the Tenant Fees Act, or knowing let to someone that does not possess a valid right to rent, they will be issued with a banning order.  

Can a Landlord Enter a Property Without Permission?

Before entering a rental property, the landlord must first gain the explicit permission of the occupants. Regardless of if the intent of the visit is for repairs, a property inspection or in person viewings, the landlord, letting agent or their representatives must have the consent of the residents no later than 24 hours before they intend to access the property. This is because upon the singing of the tenancy agreement the tenant is granted the right to quiet enjoyment of the property, essentially allowing them to dictate who is able to gain access to the grounds of the rental and when. Whilst the tenants are able to refuse the landlord or letting agent’s requests, this is typically done to find a more mutually convenient time for the visit to take place.  

Do Landlords Have to Put the Deposit in a Scheme?

Although the owner of the rental property is not obligated to take a security deposit from their tenants, it is safe to say that this will be the case for the overwhelming majority of tenancies. Once the tenant has paid the appropriate sums to the landlord or letting agent, the owner will have 28 days in which to enter the amounts into a government approved deposit protection scheme and provide details of the scheme to the tenant. If the landlord neglected to do so and legal action is taken by the tenant, they could pay up to three times the amount taken for the deposit in compensation to each resident. 

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