COMMONS

Private rented sector web forum

The Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee is holding an inquiry into the Private Rented Sector, focusing on the powers local authorities have to deal with 'rogue' landlords.

Your experience of 'rogue landlords'

The Committee set up this web forum to hear directly from people who have been affected by such landlords in the private rented sector and would like to share their stories. This will give us a good understanding of the challenges people face in the private rented sector and help us to focus our recommendations on the key issues.

If you have recently been affected by a 'rogue' landlord in the private rented sector and sought support from your local authority, we want to hear from you.

Send us your views

Specifically, we were interested in your answers to any of the following questions that apply to you:

  • Have you been affected by a 'rogue’ landlord? If so, what happened?
  • Did your letting agent deal with your complaint effectively?
  • Did your local authority support you effectively?
  • How could your local authority have supported you better?
  • If you could make one change to provide better protection for tenants in the private rented sector, what would it be?

For your information  

Please note that the CLG Committee is unable to provide direct support to individuals facing ongoing problems with their landlord and this forum should not be used to report urgent defects in your home.

If you require assistance in dealing with your landlord or in raising any issues that of are concern to you regarding your home, please contact your letting agent, local authority, or the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Your local MP may also be able to assist you or make representations on your behalf in some cases. You can find your local MP on our website.

How we use and publish this information

Your personal data will be processed in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Clerk of the House of Commons is the data controller for the purposes of the Act. The data you supply in this forum will be processed for the purpose of informing the committee's inquiry and contributing to a report.

The information will be archived as part of official record. If you have any questions or concerns about the collection and use of your information please contact the Committee Clerk at clgcom@parliament.uk.

If you would like more information about your Data Protection rights, please contact the House of Commons Information Rights and Information Security (IRIS) Service on 020 7219 2559 or the Information Commissioner's Office at www.ico.org.uk, tel. 0303 123 1113.

Comment moderation

This forum is pre-moderated and comments that breach the online discussion rules will not be posted. Any allegations made against specific individuals or companies may be edited to remove identifying information before being posted.

117 Responses to Private rented sector

Shar says:
March 23, 2018 at 02:12 PM
*If you could make one change to provide better protection for tenants in the private rented sector, what would it be?
It would be capping of rents and a stricter regulation of tenancy agencies, which are the two factors that make it harder for tenants to find and stay long term in a house.

* Have you been affected by a 'rogue’ landlord? If so, what happened?
Very few homes in private sector are now directly rented with landlords as far as I can see. I can't say it was the landlord because both times the letting agents won't let me get in touch with the landlord directly. I have no proof that my concerns and issues were ever communicated to the landlords. Agents bullied me, not the landlord. the first time I just waited in discomfort till contract expired. The second time round, a written complaint cced to local MP and ombudsman finally brought their tone down and I was able to get out of the situation with my sanity intact, although they accepted no wrong doing.
Harry says:
March 15, 2018 at 05:54 PM
The first question that needs to be answered is what has been the effect of LB Newham's landlord licensing for all properties?

Here is the research into the rental rates by London Council. Between 2011 to 2016 LB Newham has seen a 49.96% increase in the average rents that tenants pay in Newham. Only two other Councils had higher % increases, Richmond (72%) and Kingston (66%), both of these in south west London. Therefore it is clear that one of London's poorest boroughs has seen one the highest increase in rents at the same time that there was this huge increase in licensing. The Inner London average increase in that 5 year period was 31% and Outer London was 41%.
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/private-rental-market-statistics
Peter Eversden MBE says:
February 16, 2018 at 11:48 AM
The London Forum is a charity which networks, supports and represents over 130 community groups in London. I am the chairman and I would like to draw to the CLG Committee's attention the excellent work done by LB Newham in London in prosecuting rogue landlords.
See the report at http://tinyurl.com/y8ps4f25
They have carried out 70% of all such prosecutions in London which indicates a serious failure of many of the other 32 Councils to take such action.
LB Newham is battling with the Government to have its landlord licensing system renewed. The Government claims that it puts "unnecessary additional costs" on landlords and clamped down in 2015 on such licensing.
London Forum believes that is wrong and the CLG Committee should challenge it.
LB Newham identified that up to half of its 27,000 landlords may not be declaring all their rental income and HMRC is investigating.
LB Newham's landlords own 46% of all housing stock in the borough.
All local authorities should be applying PRS registration, monitoring, inspections, prosecutions when required and systems for tenants to raise issues experienced with landlords. Some Councils may need Government funding to do that but improvement in conditions in the PRS is essential for people's quality of life.
Additional tax revenues could fund grants to local authorities which lack resources and have high numbers of PRS landlords. A £400 5 year licensing fee could part fund a small team to manage PRS in a local authority.
Too many people in London in the PRS are exploited financially by landlords for poor and overcrowded accommodation in houses in multiple occupation. Rents have risen to levels that make people on even medium incomes poor and unable to fund life choices for food and leisure.
Magda says:
February 14, 2018 at 12:23 AM
I've been renting for 30 years now, and a great many of the properties I've looked at haven't been fit for purpose, with extortionate rent, zero or broken heating, damp, no sound proofing, badly ripped lino, appalling neighbours within the same block etc etc. The tenant has to pay for credit checks and provide references, but they have to take the landlord on trust. Lettings agencies are a major part of the problem, with taking on substandard properties in the first place and charging unreasonable fees. Rents need to be capped, and housing benefit needs to keep up with the market. Lettings agents shouldn't be allowed to bully tenants into renewing contracts for a full six months at a time and charging a renewal fee for this. If the heating breaks, the landlord should repair it by law and cover the full cost. Tenants should be given greater security and allowed to decorate. At the moment you can pay out thousands of pounds a year and the landlord or agent will shriek if you dare put a drawing pin in the wall. Compared to France and Germany, the rental system in the UK is a disgrace. Also, people on benefits should not be treated like lepers and refused accommodation. In many cases that's discrimination against the sick and disabled, who already have enough to deal with. Then there are the landlords who want cash in hand to avoid declaring their income...
HC says:
February 13, 2018 at 10:58 AM
Rented a tiny "double room" in an ex-council flat in Finsbury Park from an agency. Moved in to find an absolutely filthy property and a broken toilet seat in the downstairs WC. Lights in the hallway never worked in the entire six months I stayed there (left as soon as I could) which meant you would be going up and down stairs in the pitch black unless you used the light from a mobile phone. The room I rented had previously been half of a living room but the agency had turned the living room into two bedrooms in order to squeeze more money out people from the property. The property was an ex-council flat and very poorly maintained. A broken cooker had been dumped by the landlord outside the property. When vacating the property, I followed all instructions as per the contract but still ended up having a prolonged battle over 'cleaning charges' (left the property in a spotless condition; they only relented because the agent who had seen the filth when I moved in had left the company without leaving any written records of said property). I was also charged for a 'broken shower screen'. There had been no fault with this during my stay, and nor was a shower screen ever replaced in the property but I was still forced to pay this charge. Took me months to get the small part of my £700 deposit back, as the agent who had left the company had managed to submit all of my personal details (name, address, phone number) incorrectly, despite me supplying all of these on a typed document.

I now pay slightly less for a larger room slightly further out of central London, renting directly from the landlord. The property is kept in excellent condition and any problems have been resolved straight away. Not all landlords are bad, but from my own experience and that of friends, too many are forcing tenants to live in unacceptable conditions just because they can get away with it. The solution to this is simple - allow councils to introduce a full licensing scheme for all private sector landlords.
Nikki Wakeford says:
February 09, 2018 at 03:36 PM
I am an ex Letting Agent and currently, a property compliance reporting agent.
I have been party to rogue tenants and landlords, the agents I have worked for were ARLA members and therefore, dealt properly. I had one occasion to involve the Local Authority LB Bexley - and received good advise and assistance. My change to help tenants would be that it is mandatory for landlords to rent via reputable agents and not privately let their own properties.
Gerry says:
February 08, 2018 at 10:39 AM
I am a private landlord with 7 buy to let property’s and my wife owns 3. We pride ourselves in looking after our tenants and either fixing, or organising, repairs within a day or two. At the moment I am organising new uPvc windows for one tenant at £3k5. If tenants are struggling with rent we try to accommodate their position and come to an arrangement even if it takes a while for them to catch up. I feel aggrieved that all landlords are being tarred with the same ‘rogue’ brush and wonder why the government is penalising good landlords when the answer surely is to seek out and prosecute the actual bad ones. Why have the following been/being introduced.
1. Reducing the tax allowance on mortgage interest.
2. Eliminating letting agent fees.
3. 3% extra stamp duty.
All of these, plus the rise in interest rates, are going to force us to increase our tenants rents to cover the extra costs to us.
I am also considering selling my portfolio, my wife is also, therefore removing 10 properties from the private rental sector.
David W Miller says:
February 08, 2018 at 09:03 AM
I am an independent inventory clerk practising in south west London mainly. The housing stock is mixed, varying from new to Victorian, and all shapes and sizes. 'Rogue' landlords probably avoid using an independent professional, but there is a significant percentage of properties with damp problems. Some are so bad that they should be classified as being unfit for human habitation. I always include a description of damp, and the mildew and mould resulting from it. My response to question 5 is that damp dwellings should not be able to be let at all, and an independent professional should always be engaged to compile an inventory, check in and check out report. By the way, there are some bad tenants out there too - sometimes a landlord needs protection.
Frances Hudson says:
February 08, 2018 at 07:44 AM
I have only ever rented privately, without using a letting agent. Looking at friends and family who have both rented to and from others I have never seen any benefit to using a letting agent - in fact in serious situations such as severe mould they seem to have served only to help the landlord delay dealing with an issue.
If local authorities held letting agents more accountable (for example by licensing them) problems could be dealt with more effectively without the need for direct action from the local authority.
Rachelle Morgan says:
January 31, 2018 at 04:02 PM
I’ve been a private rental tenant for 4 years now. My studio flat was inspected by the local authority before I moved in, the £350 a month rent was deemed acceptable and affordable. My property suffers with rising damp, black mould and faulty electrics. I have to pay for the electric for the whole house (2 other tenants in studio’s upstairs) in return I receive “free” gas. For the last 2 years I have had serious issues with a consistent gas supply. Have bought this up with the landlord and he has stayed that one of the tenants upstairs is responsible for topping up the gas supply. In the 4 years I have lived in my property the only work that has happened is the landlord converting the front bedroom into studio number 3 for another tenant. I had an incident last year when the landlord gave the workmenbgave my flat door key to the workers doing the upstairs conversion, I come home and found 2 unknown men in my flat, this was a huge shock to me. In November 2016 I was having bad issues with the man upstairs not putting any credit on the gas so I went to my doctors very distressed. The practise manager phoned up housing enforcement at the council to report the issue. Two days later I got a call off my landlord saying I was “in serious breach of my tenancy agreement” this left me with terrible anxiety and depression, I couldn’t leave my flat because I was terrified of being evicted and being made homeless. This is a terrible effect on my mental health