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Jul 24 2017

The untold story of private landlords


Let's say it's unlikely to be widely publicised or parroted by politicians, but evidence from the English Housing Survey 2015/16 has placed private sector tenants ahead of the social sector in terms of satisfaction, with dissatisfaction levels higher in the social sector.
The survey shows us that just over 4 out of 5 tenants are satisfied across the rental market as a whole. Of course that still leaves more to be done to satisfy tenants, but across the board there appear to have been improvements.

Although there is a feeling of greater security for homeowners, 73% of the surveyed tenants said they chose to leave their last property, rather than being evicted or because of rent increases. The survey simply reinforces what we experience with most property investors and private landlords that come through our doors; most want to keep rents reasonable, and maintain a low turnover of good and reliable tenants.

Another survey has highlighted something that could use more attention however. Unfortunately in the rental sector there is shown to be reluctance to report faults with the property. A landlord has a duty and legal responsibility to fix faults within 'reasonable time', understood to be under a month, or for serious cases 24 hours. Of those tenants asked, 30% said they had carried out repairs themselves, and 14% had forked the bill for repairs.

Citizens Advice, who carried out this survey are making calls for an independent complaints body to be rolled out, that would address these types of issues. For reputable and conscientious landlords this is not likely to be necessary, and we would encourage and expect an open dialogue between tenant and landlord about any faults or issues that arise within the property. Tenants should not be shy in coming forward to inform landlords.

Surveys like those discussed above can only help to open the conversation between tenants and landlords, and help to dispel the myth and misconception that private landlords either don't care about the condition of their property and/or their tenants. In actuality, a happy tenant is a good tenant. As independent estate agents who have been working in West London lettings for decades, we are glad to be working with many reputable and conscientious private landlords. Ultimately, these surveys fly in the face of the supposed need to ‘license’ (selective or otherwise) private landlords whilst the true picture portrayed shows more needs to be improved within the social sector itself!

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