No hot water or heating: 3,000 complaints about outstanding urgent repairs per year

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Oct
1

urgent-repairs
Thousands of private tenants in the Capital are going without hot water or heating thanks to rogue landlords, according to a new report.

Local authorities in the Capital are receiving an estimated 2,916 cases of outstanding urgent repairs* every year, from frustrated private tenants.

The report’s investigation found:

  • In the last three years, just six London councils have received 1,640 complaints of outstanding urgent repairs from private tenants
  • This works out to 2,916 cases per year if extrapolated across the Capital’s 32 boroughs
  • Of these, 152 tenants had to wait more than three months before their emergency was fixed
  • If a private tenant contacts their local council about an outstanding urgent repair, the maximum time for an initial response varies from 1 day – 10 days
  •  Similarly, the maximum time limit for an initial home visit from an environmental health team varies from 1 hour to 7 days

 
Renter’s Paradise recommends that: Local authorities are given the power to issue fixed penalty notices to rogue landlords, a voluntary city-wide time limit is introduced for council home visits, and the Mayor’s Rental Standard is amended to require landlords to put in place and communicate advance arrangements in case of an emergency.

Kemi Badenoch, GLA Conservative London-wide Assembly Member, and report author, said:

“Whilst the majority of landlords and agents conduct their business professionally and provide quality accommodation, more needs to be done to deal with rogue landlords who shirk their responsibilities. Nobody should have to live without the basics such as heating or hot water, and it’s unacceptable that local authorities are having thousands of cases referred to them every year, placing a huge unnecessary burden on their limited resources. We can improving living conditions for tenants with practical, common-sense measures rather than excessive regulation. Let’s arm councils with the power to issue fixed penalty notices, introduce city-wide voluntary time limits for council home visits and let’s encourage landlords through the Mayor’s London Rental Standard to put in place pre-defined arrangements in case of an emergency.”

Gemma Esseen, 26, rented out a 1-bed in Walthamstow:

“I moved to London from Lancashire in 2013 and rented my first flat. I soon had problems with my boiler which meant no hot water or heating for 4 weeks. It was mid-winter and the flat was absolutely freezing. I couldn’t even shower, and on top of that, there was a massive draught from an ill-fitting broken front door and really bad damp. I was contacting my letting agency daily but nothing was getting done. It was such hard work, they were dragging their feet and it was a constant battle. I felt helpless. It was daunting. I was only 24, I had just moved to the city, it was my first flat and didn’t know my rights or who else to go to. In the end this left me no option but to end my tenancy as soon as I could. This report makes sense.”

The report: Renter’s Paradise: Improving living conditions for private tenants can be accessed at: www.glaconservatives.co.uk/rp

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References:
*For the purposes of this report, an urgent repair means: No hot water, no heating, or a substantial leak

The Sums:
– Questions were sent to London’s 32 boroughs on behalf of Andrew Boff AM in 2015. 7 provided figures of some sort: Brent, Wandsworth, Havering, Sutton, Islington, Greenwich and Lambeth
– In the last three years, six local authorities in London received 1,640 complaints from private tenants needing an urgent repair, averaging 273 cases per authority. The 273 average multiplied by London’s 32 local authorities, equals an estimated 8,647 urgent cases across the city over the three year period or 2,916 cases per year.

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