Almost half of renters ‘don’t feel safe or secure’ because of agents or landlords

A high number of private renters in England have been the victim of illegal behaviour from a landlord or letting agent, a new YouGov study, conducted on behalf of Shelter, has revealed.

The in-depth YouGov study of 3,500 English private renters shows the most common illegal behaviour faced by renters is a landlord or letting agent entering their home without giving notice or a chance to give permission – a quarter (25%) of respondents had experienced this, which Shelter says is equivalent to 2.1 million people.

Safety and standards were also a concern, as 22% of private renters said essential safety or household appliances like smoke alarms, central heating or water supplies were not working when they moved into a property.

And despite tenancy deposits often costing people thousands of pounds, 18% of private renters said their landlord or letting agent had broken the law by failing to secure their deposit in an approved Government Protection Scheme.

Even more concerning, 9% private renters surveyed said they have been assaulted, threatened or harassed by their landlord or letting agent.

Ahead of the Conservative Party conference next month, Shelter is calling on the government to keep its promise to provide greater protections for renters. The housing charity has warned that the upcoming, landmark Renters’ Reform Bill must include a National Landlord Register to ensure landlords fulfil their legal obligations, help regulate the private rental sector, and give renters the power to enforce their rights against law-breaking behaviour.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Home is everything. Yet millions of private renters across the country don’t feel safe or secure in theirs because of landlords and agents who flout the law. People should not have to put up with broken safety alarms, strangers bursting into their homes unannounced or the threat of harassment and violence.

“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.”


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  1. frostieclaret87

    Shelter should be rebranded the Anti Landlord League.

    They will never be happy until landlords have no right to reclaim what they own unless the tenant agrees, despite a civil contract being in place.

    Far left wing political organisation masquerading as helping the homeless, in my opinion.

  2. AlwaysAnAgent

    Shelter must have recovered from its series of staff strikes due to low pay and poor employment conditions.
    The Government’s own national survey does not agree with this straw poll. In its report it says:  
    The majority of private renters were satisfied with their current accommodation (83%). They were more likely to be satisfied than social renters (78%), but less likely than owners (95%)
    The least satisfied tenants report being dissatisfied with their tenure and would prefer to own rather than rent. This is what the Government’s report says:  
    “Private renters were the least likely to be satisfied with their tenure: 70% of private renters were satisfied with their tenure, compared with 80% of social renters and 98% of owners”  

  3. AgencyInsider

    How absolutely typical of Shelter to take the percentage figure of a small survey and apply it to the whole sector – thus creating a headline grabbing number of 2.1 million.

    The likes of Propertymark etc should be loudly and publicly calling them out for this blatantly disingenuous and contemptible manipulation of statistics – and the Charity Commissioners should take far greater interest in what Shelter gets up to.

    But I guess it very much suits Propertymark’s agenda to have the likes of Shelter giving them ammo to support the ROPA proposals.

  4. Will2

    Perhaps with so many people alledgedly unhappy they should rent elsewhere. Come on shelter you give them accommodation. Oh no I forgot you don’t house anyone, just rant about others who do. So much nonesense spouted out. Political rubbish.

  5. AcornsRNuts

    Prolly needs to watch her blood pressure. I am sure her rants cannot be good for her health.

  6. Woodentop

    I wonder what a survey would reveal of poor tenants? Very one sided opinion by Shelter, no surprise there.


    …. and give renters the power to enforce their rights against law-breaking behaviour.


    should read,


    .… and give landlords the power to enforce their rights against law-breaking behaviour of tenants.

  7. Neil Robinson

    Shelter are dangerous, and need to have a lid put on them.

    I’d like to know who they’re interviewing to get these stats too, because the respondents are, at best, selective.

  8. Ian Narbeth

    Cannot find the survey on YouGov’s website as of 14/09/2021. I question the methodology. The problem with these types of surveys I suspect is that most of those who have a bad experience are keen to share it but most of those whose tenancy was fine cannot be bothered to answer questions. 9% being “assaulted, threatened or harassed” may be misleading. Could be that the majority were threatened with court action if they failed to pay rent. I know from experience that defaulting tenants will claim they were threatened when the “threat” was to use legal processes to recover debt.

  9. smile please

    Its really simple to be a tenant.


    Pay your rent on time and keep the property clean and tidy


    Do the above and you will have a safe home to live in for many years.



    1. Woodentop

      So many of the problem tenants don’t actually fund the rent and have all day to keep the property clean and tidy … can’t be bothered when everything is done for them … no commitment or scammers!

  10. Snyper

    Does ‘pay your rent or get out’ count as a threat?

    1. Ian Narbeth

      Rather depends on circumstances and on the precise language used. It is not possible to answer without context and more details.


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