Almost a quarter of privately rented homes fail to meet minimum standards 

Almost a quarter of private rented homes fail to meet minimum standards, according to Ajay Jagota, head of north east lettings and sales firm KIS.

Having analysed the latest English Housing Survey, released last week, the letting agent, who also heads up property insurance firm Veriwise, says that 23% of privately rented homes, and 12% of socially rented properties, are offered by landlords in substandard condition.

Jagota says that the research also shows that 17% of private tenants are not satisfied with the standard of their homes, while a quarter of renters report that they are dissatisfied with the repairs and maintenance carried out by their landlord, with a landlord refusing to carry out repairs their biggest complaint.

The figures provided by the letting agent also claim that an estimated 820,000 homes in England have a problem with damp, 13% of privately rented homes contain a hazard such as damp or mould, faulty heating systems, unhygienic food storage – such as a lack of a working fridge or dangerous electrics.

Furthermore, 11% of privately rented homes do not have a working smoke alarm.

The three most common reasons for private renters being dissatisfied with repairs and maintenance were:

+ Landlord not bothering with repairs or maintenance (35%)

+ Landlord being slow to get things done (25%)

+ Landlord doing the bare minimum (15%).

Jagota said: “These are outrageous figures which really bring home how many people in England are living day in day out in danger and squalor as a result of their landlords not taking their responsibilities seriously.

“In every corner of the country there are renters wondering why their landlord won’t get rid of rats or wondering how long a landlord has to fix an electrical problem or can legally leave them without heating – all knowing that any complaints will probably get them nowhere.

“Countless council house and privately rented tenants are being told year after year that the damp in their children’s bedroom is their fault for not opening the windows or drying clothes in the house – and most of them don’t know where to turn to or don’t have the confidence or resources to fight their case in court.

“We founded Veriwise to level the playing field for renters who are currently having to put up with substandard rented homes”


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  1. Will2

    This is the type of propganda I would expect  from Shelter using their methods of statistics? Or perhaps this is how property is managed in the North East?  These are not figures I would expect from my personal experience. Just as well landlords are selling up if they provide such awful accommodation.

  2. A W

    1. Repairs are now governed by The Fitness For Human Habitation (Homes) Act 2018 (as well as section 11 of the LTA 1985 of course).

    2. If a landlord refuses to do a repair, a tenant can undertake the works and deduct the invoice from the rent.

    3. A tenant can either report the landlord to their local authority or take the landlord to court directly for disrepair now.

    4. So long as a landlord act reasonably (and there is leeway for landlord here against “demanding” tenants), then there is no issue.

    5. What a tenant considers a “necessary repair” and what a landlord / property manager considers necessary are VERY different.


    This as Will2 said quite literally looks like Shelter propaganda. In my experience the vast majority of landlords will undertake repairs and within reasonable timescales. There is so much support for tenants should a landlord not be adhering to their responsibilities that these sort of figures don’t really make sense to me.

    Also it appears that some don’t understand the concept of “acting in a tenant-like manner”: “the damp in their children’s bedroom is their fault for not opening the windows or drying clothes in the house” – A landlord cannot be held responsible for condensation mould (it appears that the authour of this comment doesn’t understand the difference either).

    most of them don’t know where to turn”  So they’ve never heard of their local council? Shelter? Citizens Advice? I have to admit I find that extremely hard to believe. Not only that but every agency would advise tenants that should they wish to find out more, that they should turn to those organizations.

    1. RosBeck73

      Absolutely. And tenants are handed a handbook of guidance with their tenancy agreement, citing the organisations which will help them.  I wonder any landlord will want to use this organisation, with its bias against private landlords especially – they make one or two comments about social housing, but the focus here is on attacking private landlords.  Using the 17% are unsatisfied, instead of the 83% who are, is a typical Shelter manoeuvre. For Jagota to say these are ‘outrageous’ figures is also ridiculous. The figures are pretty steady after years of improvements in the sector. Such is human nature that perhaps 10% of tenants/people would always say they are dissatisfied with a service, so the figure legitimately dissatisfied is likely to be even lower – probably less than 10% or 1 in 10 people.

  3. AcornsRNuts

    17% is 4.5% more than a twelfth and 7% less than a quarter, so it would be more accurate to say more than a twelfth than almost a quarter. Who taught Ajay maths? Diane Abbott?

  4. Will2

    Is this really the best Property Eye can find to publish? promoting a company providing insurance to challenge landlords?  Who on earth would want to use their letting agency if one arm of their operation is funding the attacking of landlords?  Cheapo advertising I guess.

  5. Ian Narbeth

    Agree with the comments. One paragraph stood out: Countless council house and privately rented tenants are being told year after year that the damp in their children’s bedroom is their fault for not opening the windows or drying clothes in the house – and most of them don’t know where to turn to or don’t have the confidence or resources to fight their case in court. What case are they supposed to fight in court? The case of wanting a house whose windows don’t need to be opened to be ventilated or one in which moisture from drying clothes does not cause damp and mould in a room with closed windows? It is not the landlord’s fault if tenants do not/cannot afford to put heating on and keep windows closed to conserve heat. The building is not substandard, though the tenant’s lifestyle and behaviour may make it so! One housing officer volunteered to me that in over 90% of cases where tenants complained of damp it was found that the tenant’s lifestyle was the cause. 
    Pace, AW, tenants should be directed in the first instance to review what they are doing in the property and to make changes to their lifestyle. I don’t know if Shelter ever send anyone round to inspect the property and to find out how the tenants behave. It is very easy to send threatening letters to landlords reminding them of the massive sanctions for non-compliance without any regard for whether there is evidence of non-compliance by the landlords.

  6. Woodentop

    Ah the percentage game again. Percentage of what. 1 of 4 properties = 25% 17 of 100 properties = 17% or put another way 83% were OK with their landlord.


    I think there are many agents who can relate to poor landlords and not wishing to do their bit but are few. The vast majority are complaint but regrettably there will continue to be rogues and I will stick my neck out and say … they are in the main private landlords self-managed properties.


    Throw in the % of poor life style tenants who are only too eager to put blame on the landlords for their own failings and you can at least half (much more) the propaganda being quoted.


    Maybe someone could do a percentage of the organisations that cause more problems than are warranted for landlords? 100%?

    1. paulgbar666

      But how many of these self-managing LL are in fact legal LL?  That means a LL not in breach of relevant conditions.   There are 300000 fraudster Accidental LL. They house about 1.2 million tenants.   Will they bother being compliant!? All those LL fraudulently letting to DSS tenants in breach of mortgage conditions. A National LL register would prevent all this.   If LL don’t comply then they face RRO.   LL won’t bother letting if facing RRO for offering sub-standard properties.   These requirements could drastically reduce the number of letting properties.   No bad thing in my book.   A far smaller PRS comprising of quality properties…………………..oh! And forgot far more expensive rents!!!   What’s not to like!?

      1. Ian Narbeth

        If Government introduces enough regulations then almost any activity can be made “illegal”. Each ne regulation can be defended on its own terms but too many and people, such as “accidental” landlords who are doing their best will give up because they are caught out by a harsh punishment such as a rent repayment order (whereby the person who has received 100% of the benefit of a contract pays zero per cent of the cost). If the tax man makes a mistake the rue isn’t that the taxpayer pays no tax that year. If an employee makes a mistake, the employer does not get to recoup all the salary paid for the past 12 months.

        Paradoxically those landlords who can keep one step ahead of the regulations will prosper but many ordinary landlords will withdraw their properties.

      2. jan - byers

        That is EXACTLY why the govt wants them out of the market and would prefer corporate companies to be involved

        1. PossessionFriendUK39

          Oh Jan, There are currently Millions of houses rented out by ‘ Corporates ‘ or better known as allegedly Not for Profit [sic-  laughs uncontrollably ]  Social Housing and Councils who are allowed to charge Affordable{even-more-sic]  rents  that are 30 %  above LHA,  AND  that get paid by DWP  out of tax-payers money  !

  7. MickRoberts

    This tells me that 3/4 ARE HAPPY with their homes & with no problems.
    So why do the Govt & Councils constantly attack the full 100% of ALL properties? If 3/4 haven’t got a problem cause they’ve PAID for their repairs & maintenance & new boilers/windows etc., if u now give them some charges to get back at the 25%, the 75% good houses now have less money to spend on repairs going forward & then think Hang on a minute, I’ve done the right thing & u now penalising me? I’m out of here. U house the people.

    If people have not had a problem for years, Govt & Councils should be rewarding them and lower costs, not penalising them and higher costs.

    1. PossessionFriendUK39

      Yes but Mick,  Only a proportion of the 17% aren’t happy becuase of a fault or repair.
      The remainder aren’t happy because they have to pay rent  !

      1. MickRoberts

        Ha ha yes. And also cause they wish to apply for Council house.

  8. paulgbar666

    If a National LL register occurs and there are robust and forensic questions then many LL will stop letting on AST.


    This will be because they can’t provide the correct answer.

    For example


    If mortgaged please advise of the lender and provide a CTL letter.


    That will catch out most of the 300000 accidental LL who have not obtained CTL nor do they have the correct insurance.


    They won’t provide the CTL letter because the residential homeowner hasn’t asked their lender for CTL.


    They know the lender may only provide limited CTL and would required the resi homeowner convert to a LTB mortgage which invariably will be far worse conditions than their resi mortgage.

    They may not even qualify for a LTB mortgage so would have to remove the illegal tenants.


    Accidental LL should forget AST and just take on lodgers.

    Solves a lot of problems.



    1. Ian Narbeth

      “Accidental LL should forget AST and just take on lodgers.” This only works if the landlord lives in. Calling someone a lodger when they have exclusive possession is an amateur mistake.

      I have less sympathy for landlords who have the “wrong” mortgage. They are doing so to shave a few tenths of a per cent off their loan in full knowledge of the risks. They compete unfairly with those landlords who play by the rules.

      1. paulgbar666

        An accidental LL should be a live-in LL.   There is NO law which specifies how many times a month a homeowner should stay at the home nor how many hours.     A lodger LL must have a signed lodger agreement at the home.   That avoids ex lusive possession.   ALL bills remain in the A LL name as it is still their home. There can be no lodger couples as it reduces the income. A lodger per room is required. The live-in LL would be wise to attend the property at least once per month to collect mail etc.   Residential insurance requires notification if away more than 31 days.   Attending once every 28 days solves that problem. So for a 3 bed house the LL may have 3 unrelated lodgers. There is no need for the live-in LL to have a vacant bedroom. A Z Bed in the lounge will do fine.   The only issue I can think of is lenders mostly allow only two lodgers. But two lodgers should be sufficient rent for an accidental LL to cover the costs of their home while they are elsewhere.   As a bare minimum a live-in LL should attend the home at least once per month. Ideally every 2 weeks. Invariably there are always chores at a home that take a day to resolve. If the home has a drive that could be let out as well. Where resi mortgaged LL game the system by using AST for a single household without CTL that is indeed unfair competition. This was just one example of how a National LL register would discover the fraudulent tenancies.   Lenders will be dreading such a register as it will reveal all LL who are breaching their mortgage conditions.   Lenders will be forced to act once they know breaches are occurring. Accidental LL should regularise what they are doing or just convert existing tenants to lodgers.   Most tenants wouldn’t be bothered. They would lose privacy but then they would know the live-in LL will only occasionally attend. Lodgers also mean PPR relief is maintained. I believe though I’m not certain that in a home there maybe 4 unrelated occupiers including the Live-in LL. Anymore than that then Mandatory HMO Licensing is probably required with all the onerous conditions that go with such licensing. Not sure about Additional Licensing if there are 3 unrelated occupiers including the live-in LL. I believe it is always worth checking with the local council. There is I believe also a possibility that HMRC may consider that with 3 lodgers you are operating a lodger business in your home and will lose PPR relief. So perhaps no more than 2 unrelated lodgers to start with. That should keep the home going while the live-in LL works away.   As far as I am aware attending a home once per tax year is sufficient to keep it a home. It is complying with insurance requirements that is important. Lodgers occupying is a ‘material fact’ and must be advised to the resi insurer. Lodger convictions must be advised to the insurer. Even motoring offences!! Though how a Live-in LL is supposed to know once a lodger occupies beats me.              

        1. Ian Narbeth

          If a “lodger” asserts that he/she is a tenant then the court will look at the substance. If the lodger has been granted exclusive use of a bedroom (as an HMO tenant is) then the lodger will likely be found to be a tenant. If the landlord never stays overnight that will come out and the court may treat the “lodger” agreement as a sham. If the landlord does reserve a room for himself then that may help. As you acknowledge once the numbers go up the property may need to be licensed and you get into all sorts of difficulties with insurance and mortgage lending. Most BTL lending forbids the landlord from living in the property.

          1. paulgbar666

            Yep absolutely no sane Live-in LL would give a lodger exclusive occupation of a room


            A Live-in LL bas the right to enter the room whenever he wishes.

            A lodger could have a lock on the bedroom door providing the Live-in LL has a key.


            This is useful when there are multiple occupiers.


            For a Live-in LL to maintain their PPR they must have a resi mortgage.

            This is how most A LL are started.

            It is quite simple for a homeowner to get rid of tenants who shouldn’t be occupying and replace them witg lodgers.


            There is no law which states a homeowner needs to stay overnight at their home to maintain PPR status.


            Not that I’ve ever enquired but it would be interesting to know how a resi insurer would view occupation.

            Whether an overnight stay would be required to count as occupying at least once per month to comply with standard resi insurance terms?

            But worse case scenario if a resi insurer required 24 hours of occupation once per month really no big deal.


            Most lodgers would be highly delighted that their Live-in LL only turns up once per month!!

            But I believe that legislation changes so fast it is always wise to check with the local council what their requirements are.

            No Live-in LL would wish to end up with a RRO because of their ignorance!

            Better to always check.


            Keeping to one lodger is invariably no issue.


            Start going above that number and a homeowner must check all relevant parties are OK with that.

            Not many homeowners of course do this; but they should!









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