1.85m tenants 'too scared' to report maintenance issues

Millions of people in rented homes are putting off asking their landlord for urgent repairs because they are frightened of eviction.

Research by Citizens Advice shows that 40% of tenants living in private rented accommodation – a whopping 1.85 million households - have waited longer than they should have for their landlord to carry out a repair in the last four years – but is this down to lax landlords, or timid tenants?

It seems that the answer is… a bit of both. The research revealed that instead of reaching out to their landlord, many tenants are instead choosing to make repairs to rented properties themselves, with 14% paying for repairs out of their own pocket. One family reported spending over £10,000 to fix a multitude of issues – including a broken heating system - after complaints to their landlord fell on deaf ears.

Additionally, over 16,000 people sought help from Citizens Advice in the last year for help with the poor condition of their privately rented homes, after issues with electrical faults, broken windows or lack of hot water made living in their homes dangerous. They reported that they followed this route rather than notifying their landlord because they are nervous that their situation in the private rental sector is increasingly precarious – and are afraid to notify their landlord, for fear that their rent will be increased or they may even face eviction.

No one should live in fear of being evicted for raising issues about important repairs in their home, but this is not the way that the vast majority of landlords would respond to such requests. This fear is a big concern because tenant safety should come above everything else. Laws to prevent so called retaliatory evictions were introduced to tackle this issue in 2015, yet almost two years down the line we hear the same arguments surfacing again.

Richard Lambert, chief executive officer at the National Landlords Association

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