The high cost of housing means that more and more Londoners are living in private rented accommodation.
Apart from high rent levels, what do you think the main problems are with living in a private rental property?
landlords buy properties knowing that they will be worth significantly more in a few years so dont really care about their tenants as long as they're getting the rent thats their sole interest.
complain and you'll be gotten rid of by the most appropriate means. increasing the rent so it becomes affordable is one method or simply refusing the renewal / continuation of a tenancy.
letting agents set rent levels so once one property is increased to ridiculous proportions the others follow suit. if a letting agent sees one property on a road at £1500 pcm when the rest were £1000 pcm the rest are very quickly increased based on the £1500 property whether warranted or not.
Estate / letting agents are a big part of the problem because of this as the higher the rent the higher their fee
You have a very biased & rigid view of landlords. Yes they do usually buy property for long term gain or to produce a future rental income stream, but all the landlords I have met & spoken to over the years (which are many), do care about providing their tenants with a good home & like me, if a tenant of mine has a problem with e.g. an appliance or the property however small or large, it is immediately investigated & put right. I also value my tenants & many have been with me for over 10 years & pay well below market rent & if ever they get behind with their rent because they've e.g lost their job or their hours are cut or they separate from their partner who moves out, we take the long term view & work with them to catch up on their rent & for it to still be affordable whether this be getting housing benefit or waiting until they've found new or better employment. In one instance a tenant of ours was behind with her rent for nearly 5 months & we agreed this could be repaid over a year even though they offered to repay it over 6 months which we thought would stretch them. I know many landlords who are the same so please do not assume & label all landlords in the same way. Of course there are some landlords who are crooks/rouge or just plain greedy & thoughtless or uncaring, but I can assure you there are many tenants like this too, but there are also more tenants who are not.
One issue that comes up is service charges
Tenants find it difficult to contest what often seem exorbitant sums
I'm a leasehold flat owner and the managing agents have always been reticent about problems and charge a lot of money. The accountant who signs off the annual accounts works in a building 70 miles away, which Companies House identifies as owned by the principal of the agents.
There is no security. I am always expecting notice to move as have been promised a long tenancy in the past then landlord decided to sell. The costs involved when you privately rent make you get into more debt. There should be a 5 year lease as a minimum
And what if I as a renter don't want a 5 year lease? Surely you should be able to negotiate a reasonable notice period to provide the immediate "security" you seek.
It should be an option is what I am saying. The notice period is 2 months from the landlord by law once your initial 12 months is up.
Min of 5 year leases would screw the rental market & there would eventually be less properties let out. Be careful of what you wish for
Private landlords have only one agenda which is to make a profit out of people who are on a low income. This is not a criticism, why should a private landlord have any sort of responsibility for the welfare of their tennants. Under Section 15, they can evict any tennant without providing a reason after the end of their shorthold tennancy agreement - which can be as little as 6 months.
Yes, there is a court fee of £200 or so, which invariably the court asks the tennant to pay.
When it comes to Deposit Holding Companies, they are meant to be impartial, but as they rely on landlords to place the money given to them from their tennants, they will always side with the landlord for fear of losing their 'custom' in the future. When the tennant who disputes a witheld deposit has to show their evidence to the landlord, the landlord in return does not have to share their counter argument to the tennant, only the deposit company. It is an unfair system. surely it would be wiser to have hold this cash in a Government scheme, any interest made, to be ploughed back into the housing system, or housing benefit system, which truth be told is where the money for such ridiculous high rents in London ultimately comes from.
Private Landlords receive only profit for their role, tennants live in temporary housing which can often fall below standards, and the local council has to allocate vast amounts of money paying for it.
Therefore, the main problem is that tennancies are not secured long enough, and I think they hold the councils to ransom when it comes to property standards, as councils can't really supply the logisitcs to check and implement housing standards especially if they have to engage legally with private investors - sorry landlords.
Get your facts straight. So called Deposit Holding Companies in fact legally favour a tenant & unless the landlord can categorically prove otherwise, will automatically side with the tenant. A landlord has to provide before & after dated photo proof along with Inventory check-in & check out reports & interim inspection reports plus invoices etc & even then, wear & tear often reduces a claim to very little if anything at all that a landlord can withhold. All of the landlord's evidence is also available on site for a tenant to view. Rent is another matter. If proven there are arrears, this is a pure maths exercise.
You write: "why should a private landlord have any sort of responsibility for the welfare of their tennants.[sic]? Because it's The Right Thing To Do. They have a duty of care towards the people who depend on the decency of the entity which is profiting from them.
Q. Who Gains?
A, Mainly the owner and the managing agents.
The renters/leaseholders are intrinsic to the business model which is a cash cow and has little accountability.
Landlords have too much power.
As a private landlord I agree that letting agents are always keen for you to agree to a rental increase proposal as of course it would up their earnings. I have provided good quality accommodation at a decent rental & not been greedy at all at review time. Unfortunately because of the high cost of accommodation any where within the London area tenants sublet properties causing overcrowding & unsuitable living conditions & trying deny that they are. Landlords are legally liable to ensure that whoever they have living in their property is registered & background checked. It's miserable when you find out that what appeared to be perfectly good tenants have been subletting on a ridiculous basis & notice to quit has to be given! No civillised , reasonable person wants to turf anybody out of their home but it is a two way street & tenants need to adhere to the regulations as well as everybody else in the chain!
Too much power to landlords, too little to renters.
The absolute opposite exists. Check your law.
As a landlord of four properties in central London, I take exception to the widespread assertions that all Landlords...... Each property I own has been substantially improved from my own pocket. I respond to all tenant complaints or questions within 24 hours. Repairs are made as quickly as possible and almost always within a week. My experience with Deposit Protection agencies, such as TDS, is that they are almost always partial towards tenants, ruling damage to carpeting or glass 'fair wear and tear'.
I know it is popular to rip into landlords as greedy and unfeeling, but this is not the case for most landlords. Consider the number of local and national changes which have been created to soak landlords in the past few years. Local boroughs have been busily redefining HMOs so that they can collect license fees to top up their reduced revenues from government. The Chancellor has changed the tax code affecting all landlords who pay over the basic rate of tax. Mortgage providers have been told to tighten their facilities for buy-to-let mortgages through a wholly new set of regulations, and worst of all, landlords have been forced to perform the job of immigration officers by checking the right to reside status of potential tenants. I know no one but landlords will shed a tear for any of this, but we do provide a public service. The best of us do care about our tenants and lament when our tenants do not show the same care and concern about our properties as do we. ALL of my properties have achieved lower rents this year than they did last year; so the notion that rents just keep going up is factually wrong. Yes, my properties have increased in value, but this is not guaranteed; it is a gamble and is at least partly down to the improvements I have made to my properties.
So please do try to see the other side of the issue of private rentals rather than just relying on the old and rather silly stereotypes.
Totally agree with Petethepen. I have been a landlord for 25 years and know that it is good business sense to keep your tenants happy so they look after the property and you don't keep getting void periods with all the associated costs and uncertainty that brings. I get thank you cards from my tenants when they move on and I myself am generally very sorry to see them go. But this type of landlord/tenant relationship is never reported in the press.
The legislative changes and general anti landord feeling that seems to pervade at present makes me very uneasy. The housing shortage, particularly in London was not created by landlords. The fact is, there is not enough housing, whether to rent or to buy for all those who want it. It is not good enough for our political leaders to seek to scapegoat landlords for the results of short sighted political decisions in the past. In the process they are in danger of killing off the private rented sector and with it the hefty income tax receipts the Treasury receives from it. There is a need for rented accommodation; not everyone wants the commitment of a mortgage and the maintenance, insuring and other responsibilities that go with owning a property. The housing market needs flexibility including a good stock of well managed rented housing. Putting good landlords out of business with punitative taxes and licensing fees seems bonkers in this context.
This misses the point. I've never heard or read that ALL landlords are rogues. My housing experience in London since 1976 is negative.
I don't see any problem. Nobody is forcing anyone. You won't to live in London, you pay the rent.
So you don't need nurses, teachers, policemen and street cleaners and people to work in your local supermarket then? Or what about your local hairdresser, waitress in your local cafe? How are min wage workers supposed to afford rents more than take home pay?
If you really need them, you can pay them enough to stay here.
Because of too big competition in services area the prices are so small. Market can regulate itself.
First it's 'want'.
Actually there are a lot of pressures on people, not to mention the poor folks who's only 'crime' was to have been born here but not have been gifted with the millions of pounds necessary to live in high-rent areas like, erm, Hackney, or Dalston... Your comment betrays both a lack of awareness of the realities of trying to live in London, and of basic human compassion.
international cities, like London, need to ensure that as well as providing opportunities for the well-endowned and well-empowered, they look after the people who provide the basics that those people rely on, like transport, and healthcare, and education.
The one point you're correct on is that we should be paying many of those people more money, but that's a separate and bigger issue. And unless we sort out London's chronic lack of affordable, safe and cost-efficient homes, any increase those people see is likely to simply have to go into paying ever increasing rents.
If the landlord won't get things fixed then you don't really have anyone you can complain to.
You do. Your local Enviromental Health Office will enforce repairs if deemed should be carried out.
As previously said, landlords and lettings agents have too much power. They own tenants' deposits and in case of disputes the law and all the regulations seem to be more on their side than tenants'. I have experienced it myself. I've lived in London for 12 years and I've seen a drastic change in rental market. Before prices were set according to the size of the property, standard and location. Now it seems that nobody takes any notice of those things anymore. The prices are unaffordable across the whole London with landlords asking for high rent in zones 3 or 4 as well as setting unreasonable prices for tiny box rooms. It's getting out of control and there seems to be no regulations to it whatsoever. When before deposits were a month's rent now lettings agents like to ask for 6 weeks with a month's rent upfront which means people need to save up for months to be able to move houses. In many cases people are stuck living in awful properties because they simply can't afford to move. On another hand it takes up to a month for a tenant to get their deposit back because landlords are allowed to take their time. And they do as they do with repairs or replacement of any broken equipment. To say that one needs to accept those conditions and pay the rent if one wants to live in London is simply arrogant and condescending. Even the Mayor of London acknowledges the fact it's not right. Rich and privileged are buying properties to exploit those who have not been so fortunate in their lives to get an easy start. That will only widen the gap between the rich and the poor and make the whole society worse off in the long run. The general attitude of the landlords in London is disgusting. A landlord does not do anyone a favour for letting people to rent their property. People pay landlords for a service and the service is hardly of a satisfactory standard. And there's nowhere really to complain to that would act immediately upon it.
We need rent control in this country. For example, in France a standard tenancy is 3 years and the landlord cannot ask you to leave before then. If the tenant wants to leave, they must give 3 months notice or one month if there is a job transfer/death/divorce etc. Rent can only be increased once a year and only by a % set by the government. Gives tenants much more security. There is rent control and strict regulations in all countries where renting actual works well as a housing option.
The problem with that is not everyone wants to rent for such long periods.
In countries where everyone rents long term it is extremely difficult if you want to rent for 1 year or less to find a place to live. I've worked abroad and suffered from this. Luckily the companies I've worked for found me accommodation but they weren't able to do this for all foreign workers.
One thing that could help in the UK is if landlords weren't just individuals and letting/estate agents were regulated properly. If larger organisations e.g. pension funds could invest in providing residential rental property not just housing associations and charities then there would be more long term rentals for ordinary people not just those that are considered vulnerable.
Low standards of properties. Ludicrous rents, ludicrous agency fees, low take home pay, you are unable to create a home as constant fear of being sold/rent increases etc etc. Being expected to flatshare into your 40s and beyond if your single and low-mid income, No privacy, impossible to co parent in flatshares (can't have kids round as no space etc and other tenants).
Landlords tax evasion, sub lets etc. Can't report them to councils due to making yourself homeless. Councils can't help anyone who is childless and single even if you live in a flat thats condemned.
I've been renting for 20 years across the UK, during that time I've only had one decent landlord. Most happy to treat you like a cash cow and will fight not to make essential repairs or use dubious non trades people to bodge it on the cheap. Current flat is in disrepair but unless i flatshare I can't afford to move as most flats in my budget are even worse, I'm 39 I honestly think living in a glorified bedsit isn't asking for too much. Being a freelancer its not so easy as I'm classed as a zero hours so again its awkward via some letting agents. Basically I'm the embodiment of Government policy failure, a gig worker renter. I'm looking at leaving London as I simply can't sustain the outgoings indefinitely and have a shot at buying. But long term something has to give, London will lose its creative and professional (but not well paid) workers if it doesn't act soon. Its too late for my generation but the future is bleak. I have no children for many reasons but one is because I could never afford a stable decent home, not even a seperate bedroom. How many other lives have been stunted? Its been utter dispair at times. What happens to all the life long renters when they all get too old or ill to work? No council flats, no decent pensions? Its a time bomb.
The main problem is the very high rents.
Nothing effective can be achieved until there is proper, enforceable legal protection for private sector tenants. There also needs to be free access to legal process.
Neither of these broad objectives can be achieved until wealthy landlord MPs, mostly Tories, are excluded or neutralised in the legislative process.
The rents are way to high for most people and their is no security or rights for tenants. No where else in Europe do are tenants treated so badly.
There are many problems associated with private rental this varies from landlords who are only in it to make money as they know they have a captive market. Yes there are good landlords out there but we don't get to hear about them.
High rental costs especially in the area I live.
Letting agents who won't accept people on benefits or a low income, large deposits needed and maybe 6 months in advance along with a guarantor.
No security or protection against raising rent increases or length of tenancies.
The main problem is there's not enough social housing.
As a tenant who rents privately, my issues are; lack of security of tenure, forced to renew tenancy every year at cost of £115 for a photocopy of a lease; the cost of moving creates lack of options (initial outlay of around £3000 including enforced moving out cleaning company bill as part of contract even tho when I moved in it was not in good state of cleanliness); landlords trying to rip me off for my deposit when I move; agents acting as a barrier between me and the landlord, no communication between me and landlord means we both get charged by agent for same things; agent works for landlord's interests and not mine, as they are paid by landlord, so my interests are always ignored by both; lack of choice; forced to use out of date poor quality appliances that cost more to run and have very poor energy efficiency; forced to allow 3 monthly property inspections (I have lived here for 42 months) where agent's staff can walk into my home and invade my privacy in a way that even the police can't; generally being treated as a second class citizen; when reporting repairs, even in an emergency eg with gas boiler, having to wait for confirmation from landlord (lives on another continent) because "we cant just spend the landlords money" even though that money comes from me in the first place as the landlords source of income for the property; poor quality assessment of issues with infrastructure of buildings by the agents inspections (these people are not buildings experts) means that the landlords investment as well as my home are at serious risk of deteriorating to the point that repairs will be prohibitively expensive - I wonder how insurers feel about that? Properties all over London will be becoming uninhabitable due to lack of incentive (carrot or stick) for landlords to spend money on upkeep - they generally want to spend NO money, and tenants are expected to achieve the impossible - nothing can physically change for the whole time you live there.
Thanks everyone for sharing your experience with private rental properties.
Which of the below do you feel is the biggest problem?
• Poor state of repair
• Poor safety of the property
• The feeling that renters have little power to complain or improve their situation due to fear of eviction
• Tenants not knowing how long they will be able to stay in their property because they only have a short-term contract
• The high up-front cost of tenancy deposits
• Getting their deposit back
What ideas do you have for addressing these problems?
there isnt a single biggest problem
these are all major issues. i've had a landlord refuse to pay £3.00 to replace a handle on a window that wouldnt shut as the handle fitted wasnt engaging the mechanism. the landlords solution take the handle off a different window shut it then replace the handles meaning a non functioning window!
the only way to improve the situation is to create and enforce regulations have all rentals controlled by local councils who then control the rents, and ban all fees for rentals from letting agents with tenancy deposits held by local government and any interest earned paid to the tenant not the landlord so when they have to move the interest is added to the initial deposit.
why should landlords be paid interest for holding our deposits and get to deduct from those deposits the interest could cover costs where they're needed
I've seen all of them.
I know someone currently who lives in a basement flat where I can see fire safety issues due to measures the landlord in the flat above has put in to prevent them accessing part of his property. The flat also has damp problems due to the landlord being too mean to put in proper security measures so they have blocked a window that provides bathroom ventilation. The tenant won't complain as she fears that she will be subject to eviction and this will turn her children's lives upside down. She has lived for nearly three years like this.
Expensive heating and electric bills as house has single glazing, little to no insulation, very draughty. Have to keep heating on 24/7 during colder months so as to keep the mould at bay as well as move beds, furniture away from outside walls to stop mould growth. We repair things ourselves rather than bother letting agent as too scared of annoying them. If we ever have contacted them they just ignore us. Major faults occur regularly as old house that was not refurbished well before we moved in. We spent six weeks without a bathroom sink, weeks without a bathroom when they decided to refurbish without consulting whether it was convenient for a large family to exist in a 'building site'. I really detest the letters we receive saying they will let themselves in for their far too regular property 'inspections', where they take unnecessary photographs of your possessions instead of sticking to the property structure! This is just not a home as owners constantly violate your privacy. Basically living in private rented is very draining and stressful. Tenancy fees should be banned.
I think it's pure shear greediness, I never see my landlady thank god,! she only turns up when she wants more money, it took her nearly 5 years to refurbish the inside of the house it was a absolutely tip, tenants do not have to live in a rubbish bin because it's private and they should not be made to feel intimidated, I had to write to the mayor with regards to my problems and heard back that there will be a law enforced that landlords will have to put a stop on increasing rentals whenever they feel like it especially low income earners.
I feel that we have become a very expensive and greedy nation, who says that we have to be expensive! people are made to feel a lot of pressure due to the unnecessary increases, pay increase do not rise so how does our government expect us to live well and they wonder why so many thousands of people are filled with anxiety and depression, they are ruining peoples lives and running us into the ground to pay rip off prices, and they wonder why Londoners move abroad.
Yes we know we have to pay for our bills and rentals etc, but with what if no extra money is coming in.
Very few properties are available to rent for people who own pets.
As a dog owner, I struggled to find pet-friendly accommodation in London. I often pay above market rate, and have a larger deposit, in order to find housing with my dog.
In my opinion there are two major problems with renting in London from private landlords:
- is expensive to the level that normal family with children simply can not afford it,
- it is unreliable which means that landlord can ask you to move out event after a short period (for family a 1 year is a short period) and whether you like it or not you need to move all your household (schools, local connections, work)
I am forced to work in London but sleep outside London as I can not afford to rent anything in London for my family.
Good and Fair Landlords are ver much the exception and even well meaning landlords are manipulated by estate agents .
A few ideas for solutions to the problem:
When the Landlord does not comply with obligations of repair , the tenant should have the right to withhold rent immediately.
No property should be allowed to go for rental unless insulated and energy efficient. This should be good for the environment and for costs to tenants . It is ludicrous that in London , flats are rented at exorbitant prices with worn out windows and leaky frames , let alone proper insulation. In most European countries this is against the law.
Council tax should be paid by the Landlord and should be substantially higher. It is ludicrous that properties worth millions are on 100 pounds per month council tax.
There should be rent control like everywhere else in Europe.The Councils should have more power to enforce legal obligations on landlords or impose hefty fines.
On the landlord side, I agree that there are far too many tenants now in London subletting on Airbn , it has become a business. Some tenants manage actually to live free or even make a profit , in breach of their tenancy. In such cases, eviction should be immediate and with no refund of the deposit.
Alongside the problem of the very high price of privately renting there is enormous
difficulty with insecurity. There's the constant threat of being evicted because landlords want to sell up as they make a huge profit on their property. This causes tenants massive insecurity and adversely affects mental health of tenants stuck in this situation especially as so many of us have nowhere else to go if we do get evicted due to ridiculously high deposits/upfront fees required to secure alternative rentals.