Tenants should get refunds if properties are unsound, call

Citizens Advice is calling for tenants to get their money back if the property is unsound.

In its report, Renting Uncovered, the charity says private tenants should have the legal right to refunds if the property they are living in is structurally unsound, has unsafe wiring or has damp or mould.

Citizens Advice said that while a landlord has statutory obligations to repair fundamental faults, they can also evict tenants who demand repairs.

By contrast, it says the Sale of Goods Act states that goods purchased must be of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said tenants’rights were “stuck in the dark ages”.

She said: “These days people rightly expect to get their money back if something they pay for is not up to scratch. Private renters can end up thousands of pounds out of pocket when they are let a home which turns out to be unfit to live in.

“We’re calling for a system which provides people with a refund if a private rented home doesn’t meet the most basic standards like safe electrics and being structurally sound.”

Citizens Advice is calling for Rent Repayment Orders – which can be made when a landlord rents out an HMO without a licence – to be extended to poor-quality properties.

The Tenancies (Reform) Bill introduced by Sarah Teather to outlaw so-called retaliatory evictions failed to get through its second reading at the end of last year.

A second attempt is to be made to make such evictions illegal via an amendment to the Deregulation Bill. The amendment proposes that Sections 1 and 2 of the Tenancies (Reform) Bill are incorporated.

The Lords are due to vote on this amendment but no date has been given for this report stage of the Bill.

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2 Comments

  1. Mark Walker

    If there is a fundamental flaw with a property then fair enough.

    However, one of the leading complaints from tenants about properties is "damp". But what they mean by damp is condensation. "Are you dring your washing in the property?" "Yes." "Have you opened a window" "No, it's cold". Successive Government policy has focused on energy conservation and is to create hermetically sealed sweatboxes. The knock on effect of "damp" properties and respiratory problems for their subjects is currently lost on our administrators.

    So when I read "In its report, Renting Uncovered, the charity says private tenants should have the legal right to refunds if the property they are living in is structurally unsound, has unsafe wiring or has DAMP or mould" I start screaming at the screen.

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  2. JungleProperty

    If the property is structurally unsound or has unsafe wiring then the landlord needs to be brought to task under existing legislation first before introducing yet more rules and regulations. There seems to be a body of people who seek to introduce more and more regulations when there is very little enforcement of the existing regulations!

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