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Rogue Landlords on the Rise as Rentals Increase

Tenants are being warned of an increase in unscrupulous landlords, whose business is on the up thanks to rising demand for rental homes.

According to The Guardian this weekend, the instability in the housing market and lack of mortgage funding for many would-be buyers is increasing the demand for rental homes – with the number of households renting private sector homes up by a massive 40% on five years ago. 

Property Marketing Sector Reports Growing Demand for Private Lets

The growing demand for private lets, coupled with a decreasing level of social housing is putting pressure on the rental market and forcing more vulnerable lower income households to compete for homes with those who, in others times, would have been busy buying.  As a result many families find themselves forced out of traditional property marketing avenues and cornered into accepting rental agreements with landlords who are guilty of rogue tactics.

According to housing charity Shelter, complaints about landlord behaviour have increased by almost a quarter over the last 12 months, with 90% of local authority environmental health officers claiming to have knowledge of landlords acting in an unscrupulous fashion with harassment and illegal evictions commonplace.

Unscrupulous Landlords “Cashing in”

And even for those who are not faced with direct attacks from the owners of their homes, there is the problem of neglect – with many rental homes being left in poor condition with landlords refusing to carry our essential repairs in an effort to save money. Shelter Chief executive Cambell Robb said: “It would appear that rogue landlords could be cashing in on this growing market.”

For households that want or need to rent, following these simple pointers before moving in can help reduce the risks:

  • Rent a home offered through a reputable property marketing and management company. Managed properties are less likely to be neglected and direct contact with the landlord is also reduced.
  • If you must rent privately ensure that you have a contract in place and get this checked by a professional – if you cannot afford a solicitor your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau may be able to help.
  • Always check that your deposit will be lodged with a reputable tenancy deposit scheme, as this will offer some protection in the event of a dispute on departure.