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Private tenants at risk in unsafe buy to let homes

26 February 2016

private tenants unsafe buy to letPrivate rented homes are most likely to have dangerous health and safety hazards, according to new research.

Around one in six buy to let homes are unsafe, compared with one in eight owner occupied homes and one in 16 social rented homes.

The report by Citizens Advice and think tank the New Policy Institute also reveals more than 100,000 tenants pay more than £900 a month rent to live in an unsafe home, although the average rent is £650 a month.

These dangerous properties are also home to more than 500,000 children.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “Rogue landlords are forcing private tenants into a living nightmare.

“The private rented sector is the most expensive housing tenure but is in the worst state - consumers are paying top dollar to stay in dire homes that can threaten their lives and risk their health.

“For too long the private rented sector has been seen as a side issue in the British housing crisis debate. This is utterly wrong as the astronomical cost of buying property means increasing numbers of people and families are moving into private tenancies.

“It is good the Housing Bill includes plans to give tenants the rights to rent refunds when their homes are unsafe - but it’s imperative renters don’t have to stump up court fees to seek this justice.”
Meanwhile, local authorities are calling for the bill to include tougher sanctions against bad landlords.

The Local Government Association (LGA), which speaks for 370 councils in England and Wales, argues that keeping a database of landlords with banning orders does not go far enough.
Councils are urging the government to expand the bill so the database can include landlords with any housing related conviction.

The LGA also wants a stricter ‘fit and proper ‘person test to screen landlords.

"Councils are doing everything they can to tackle rogue landlords. However, they are being let down by the current system which fails to account for the seriousness of the situation” said spokesman Peter Box.

Download the Citizens Advice report ‘Paying A High Price For A Faulty Product’