Thousands suffering under rogue landlords, say Shelter

More than 125,000 people have suffered abuse from landlords in the past year, according to research from Shelter.

A minority inflicting misery

‘A small minority of rogue landlords are causing havoc and misery’ according to the charity, a recent survey of around 3,800 people revealing a darker side to rental.

In the past year alone 60 of those surveyed claimed that their landlord or letting agent had been abusive towards them or another tenant, which when applied to the English Housing Survey and Census data suggested that a worrying 125,000 tenants could be facing abuse.

Intimidation on the increase?

The charity also revealed that almost 17,000 people contacted them within the past year, seeking advice for an array of shocking predicaments.

Some suggested their landlord had burnt their belongings and others complained of cut utilities, whilst one tenant told how a dispute about damp saw him face a barrage of stones.

According to the tenant, one day the landlord ‘became really aggressive’ after he chased up some repairs, with the landlord losing his cool and attacking him during a trip to his property.

Is a crackdown around the corner?

Off the back of the findings both Shelter and the Association of Residential Landlords have called for more rental regulation, with Brandon Lewis – the current housing minister – attempting to calm concerns.

In response to Shelter’s findings Lewis said: “The Government has introduced a range of powers to tackle rogue landlords, backed by £6.7 million of Government funding, which has resulted in nearly 40,000 property inspections and over 3,000 landlords facing further enforcement action or prosecution.

“We have made significant progress but we are determined to go even further. We are cracking down on those who rent out dangerous, dirty and overcrowded properties.

“We have published a discussion document that sets out our proposals, including a blacklist of rogue landlords and letting agents, tougher penalties for the worst offenders, the extension of rent repayment orders and the introduction of civil penalties.”

Whilst this research from Shelter is worrying, thankfully the rogues seem to be the minority. The charity themselves admit that, and most tenants rent trouble-free. Let’s hope this crackdown comes to fruition and rids rental of the rogues.

What do you make of Shelter’s research? Let us know in the comments below.

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