A high number of properties in the private rented sector are not fit for human habitation, according to controversial letting agent Ajay Jagota, who runs KIS Lettings in the north of England as well as his Veriwise insurance service.
Jagota, who last week accused landlords of “not taking their responsibilities seriously”, says that a significantly high proportion of homes in the PRS fall seriously short in a wide range of factors, including repairs and damp.
He claims that around £8bn is needed to repair inadequate rented homes – private and social – in England.
The agent has based his claim on analysis he has undertaken of the recently-released results of the English Housing Survey.
He says that 23% of privately rented homes and more than one in ten socially-rented properties – 12% – currently fail to meet the minimum standard.
This means they key parts of the properties “need replacing or major repair” because of their condition, or that the homes feature major hazards such as damp and mould growth, excess carbon monoxide, poor sanitation and dangerous electrics.
According to Jagota, an average of £7,912 is needed to bring these homes up to standards – rising to an average of £10,569 in the North West.
Jagota commented: “It is a needless national scandal that so many renters in England and the rest of the United Kingdom are putting up with their landlord not fixing things.
“Up and down the country there are renters asking questions like ‘how long can my landlord leave me without a toilet?’ and ‘how long does a landlord have to fix electricity?’”
He added: “It is not good enough for landlords to claim that they can’t afford these repairs – they have a legal responsibility to carry them out. Veriwise was set up to support renters who lack the resources or legal skills to enforce these responsibilities and even pursue claims for compensation.”