Buy to Let

Tenants wait too long for repairs to be done

Christina Hoghton
Written By:
Christina Hoghton

More than two in five private renters (41%) have waited longer than they usually should for their landlord to carry out a repair, according to Citizens Advice.

That’s the equivalent of 1.85 million households.

But these tenants aren’t pressing their landlords to carry out repairs quickly, because they are scared they’ll be evicted, added the charity.

It claims that living in a home in a poor condition can impact on people’s health, as well as being hugely inconvenient. Problems that tenants reveal haven’t been fixed in good time include broken windows, no hot water and leaks.

Your rights

Landlords in the private rented sector have a legal responsibility to fix problems in a reasonable time – usually a month or less, or 24 hours for serious cases.

When renters wait longer than is deemed reasonable a court can order a landlord to carry out a repair, or award financial compensation. In some cases they’ll receive both.

A YouGov survey of over 700 private renters in England found that 57% of renters who could get compensation said they didn’t want to force the issue with their landlord for fear of being evicted.

Half of renters (51%) were worried their landlord would increase their rent if they continued complaining.

Rather than pursuing the issue with their landlord or taking formal action, Citizens Advice said that tenants take matters into their own hands, with nearly a third (30%) carrying out repairs themselves and 14% paying for repairs out of their own pocket.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of the charity, said: “Renters should be able to ask for repairs to their home without fear of retaliation.

“Homes in poor condition are the most common private rented sector issue people turn to Citizens Advice for help with. Issues such as broken fittings, faulty electricals or leaks can make life hard for renters and can even lead to ill health. But renters aren’t pursuing their rights to repair because they are worried their landlord will put up their rent or evict them. To add to this, formal routes to redress aren’t being used either because they’re too difficult and expensive.

“Rent is the most expensive costs households face, but protections for renters simply don’t reflect this. The new government needs to make it easier for people to have their rights enforced when their home is in poor condition.”