Shelter reveals scale of rental sector conditions
The housing charity asked 3,700 tenants about their living conditions and almost half said they had endured mould, damp or electrical hazards in the past year.
Shelter said the findings come as no surprise, with recent government statistics showing that one in six private rented homes in England contain a health and safety hazard.
The charity wants the government to do more to protect renters from rogue landlords.
Last year, almost 6,000 private renters called the Shelter helpline and nearly 400,000 people visited the website for expert advice on conditions or disrepair in their homes.
Shelter helpline adviser Nadeem Khan said: “Every day we speak to people desperate for help, after being forced to live in appalling conditions for months on end.
“Some of the housing horrors we hear are truly shocking – from people who are forced to live in flats crawling with fleas or rats, or with water pouring out of the toilet waste pipe, to those who’ve been through the ordeal of a fire in their home caused by faulty wiring.
“No-one should have to live in a home which is unsanitary or unsafe, and that’s why it’s crucial to know your rights as a renter.”
Almost a third (30 per cent) of private renters surveyed by the housing charity said they had lived in a property with damp or mould. A fifth (20 per cent) suffered with poor insulation and excess cold while electrical hazards were reported by 8 per cent of renters.
Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb said: “Imagine trying to raise a child in a home crawling with vermin or falling apart at the seams, with a rogue landlord who refuses to fix it and nowhere else to go because of there’s nothing else you can afford. It’s just not right.
“The government must to do more to protect renters from the rogue landlords who let out these shoddy properties, so that every renter can feel safe in their own home.”