Quarter of renters do not ask for repairs due to fear of eviction, says Shelter
A quarter of private renters in England have not asked for repairs to be carried out or conditions to be improved because of fear of eviction, according to a survey.
The research suggested that the rate of renters who have complained to the council, landlord or letting agent about repairs, conditions or harassment in the last three years and been evicted or threatened with eviction during that time is nearly three times that of those who had not complained.
The YouGov polling of 2,006 private renters aged 16 and above for Shelter found that 76% had experienced disrepair in the past year, while 51% had experienced damp and/or mould in that time.
Almost a third (31%) said they had had a problem with the boiler, no hot water or no heating in the past year.
While 8% of renters who had not complained to the council, landlord or letting agent had been evicted or threatened with eviction in the same period, the percentage for those who had complained and been evicted or threatened with it was 21%.
Some 25% of renters had not asked for repairs to be carried out or conditions to be improved because of fear of eviction, the online polling between in February and March, suggested.
The charity’s chief executive Polly Neate said private renters are being left in a “terrible catch 22” as they face having to “either shut up and put up with disrepair” or risk increasing their chances of eviction.
The Government has insisted it is “absolutely committed to delivering a fairer deal for renters” and will ban Section 21 orders as part of its Renters’ Reform Bill in this Parliament “so that all tenants have greater security in their homes and are empowered to challenge poor conditions and unreasonable rent rises”.
But Ms Neate accused the Government of “dragging its heels” on the Bill.
She said: “Day in, day out Shelter hears from people who are forking out huge sums on rent while living in nightmarish conditions because private renting is woefully under-regulated.
“It is a travesty that so many private renters are too afraid to complain about the mould growing all over their kids’ clothes, or the water pouring in through broken window frames, in case it costs them their home.
“Renters are bearing the brunt of Government dithering over urgently needed private rental reforms. Renters can’t wait any longer, the Government must urgently make its Renters’ Reform Bill law to protect tenants who call out poor conditions from unfair evictions and homelessness.”
The Government’s plan to tackle anti-social behaviour, published on Monday, faced criticism from charities who raised concerned about its “three strikes and you’re out” plan to speed up the process of removing anti-social tenants, and making the notice period two weeks “for all anti-social behaviour eviction grounds”.