Up to one in four landlords are failing to provide their tenants with written tenancy agreements, according to a survey by flat sharing website EasyRoommate.
The news comes just days before new legislation which will make it impossible for landlords and letting agents to evict tenants without paying far more attention to paperwork.
From Thursday, a valid Section 21 notice of eviction can only be served when the tenant has been provided with a copy of a valid energy performance certificate, a gas safety certificate and a copy of the most recent version of the booklet How to rent: The checklist for renting in England.
However, the EasyRoommate survey shows that many landlords are still failing to meet the absolute basic standards of paperwork, with 25% of tenants saying that their landlord did not provide them with a written rental agreement.
The results of the survey also revealed that 25% of tenants said their landlords did not always provide urgent repairs on problems with plumbing, central heating, electrics and roof leaks.
A statement from EasyRoommate said: “For landlords who do not uphold their responsibilities, the time for change is now.
“The government is determined to crack down on rogue landlords and drive them out of business. Among the measures that have been introduced by the government such as protecting tenants against “retaliation eviction” serving under section 21, rogue landlords will be heavily fined for housing offences such as:
- Providing a local authority with false or misleading information following a statutory enquiry
- Permitting or causing overcrowding
- Illegally evicting or harassing a residential occupier
- Continuing to let to an illegal immigrant
- Any offence under the Housing Act 2004.
EasyRoommate chief executive Karim Goudiaby said: “We believe that flat sharing can be a wonderful experience, given the right conditions.
“Because we don’t want to leave to chance, we have a dedicated moderation team working around the clock to ensure the advertised flats are in decent living conditions.
“Rogue landlords are far from being the majority but, once in a while we see landlords trying to fit 20 tenants in a four-bedroom flat, or advertising packed rooms looking more like a fire hazard than a home.
“That’s why no listing is published on the site before it has been reviewed by the moderating team. We look at the description, pictures, rent price … anything that can give us an indication of the living conditions.”
The survey also revealed that almost 20% of tenants are still not being offered deposit protection.
EasyRoommate is based in central London but operates in more than 25 countries across the world. It is a partner of the Mayor of London in supporting the London Rental Standard.