An ITV news investigation aired last night has heavily criticised the government for its lack of progress to enable tenants in both the social and private rented sectors to complain about sub-standard homes.

Reported Daniel Hewitt spent six weeks touring mouldy and poorly-maintained homes interviewing tenants unable to prompt councils and housing associations into action.

The hour-long programme claimed the social sector’s Housing Ombudsman complaint system ‘clearly isn’t working’ and that tenants in private accommodation who rent directly off their landlords were largely powerless.

Private landlords are not required by law to join a redress scheme, and tenants usually have only their local Trading Standards or Environmental Health teams to turn to, many of which are either under-staffed or over-stretched.

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Private tenants can also access redress if they dispute deductions from their deposit, assuming their landlord has lodged it with an approved scheme, or complain about their letting agent’s service if their landlord uses one.

hooker

But otherwise they are in limbo says Sean Hooker (pictured), Head of Redress at the Property Redress Scheme (PRS). He says it is time the government introduced a mandatory landlord redress scheme.

“When you are forced to live for long periods of time with a problem such as a disrepair or the condition of a property, the impact and distress on tenants is compounded,” he says.

“A requirement for all landlords to register with a redress scheme would mean that the whole private sector would be accountable to a complaint process.”

Hooker says the PRS is already working with the Housing Ombudsman, First Tier tribunals and The Property Ombudsman to move to a single gateway for all tenants to access the complaint service they need. 

“The concept would be that complainants would be able have their complaint signposted to the right service, that data could be shared allowing the complaint to be effectively dealt with as quickly and effectively as possible.”

Read more about the Housing Ombudsman.

Read more about the ITV investigation.

14 COMMENTS

  1. How does this stop malicious claims?

    The best solution, is for tenants to be responsible for repairs and for rents to be lower to take into account of lower maintenance.

    In Germany, the tenants is responsible for their own kitchen. If they move out they take the kitchen units with them.

    So effectively the tenant is renting the building structure and roof. The internal becomes the tenants responsibility.

  2. Tenants already have the council and EA to complain to if the landlord doesn’t address issues. If that’s not working then the problems there need to be addressed first.

    In my experience tenants dry clothes on the radiators, don’t open windows to air the house and don’t wipe away the first signs of black mould. Landlords can’t be responsible for mould when tenants won’t follow advice.

    • Absolutely. Despite having to give tenants a potty-training leaflet called ‘How to Rent’, which explains all those heavily scientific things like fresh air, the behaviour of water molecules and so on, they just chuck it in the bin, hermetically seal up the windows, frequently stapling or nailing up some dirty old duvet covers in lieu of the perfectly good curtains they were supplied with, smoke like chimneys, turn the heating off because they say they can’t afford it, then try to get the council to rehouse them at taxpayer expense when the inevitable black mould appears. Of course it is the landlord’s fault that the four-foot high pile of dirty laundry is jammed against an outside wall, of course it is the landlord’s fault that nobody in the place ever cleans it, and of course it is the landlord’s fault that these people are brainless and therefore can’t get jobs and have to sit around all day not doing any housework.

      • Had this issue with a tenant , all they wanted was the council to rehouse them , once they left house aired out , redecorated never had a problem again , new tenants regulary opened the window left bathroom windows on vent and didnt plug up the air bricks

  3. Black mould is usually caused by tenants and is rarely a result of the property construction. But let’s not allow the facts to get in the way of the story. Increasingly the UK public seems to expect someone else to be responsible for everything. Got mould , the landlord should fix this, want a CO2 monitor in every room , the landlord should supply them . Don’t want to pay rent the landlord or government should pay. What happened to common sense and taking responsibility?

  4. Mould is a natural phenominom. Been around for millions of years.
    If a tenant refuses to ventilate a room properly then how is that a landlords fault?

    Riduculous.

  5. Eddie Hooker happily throws landlords under the bus – if you are the head of a redress scheme then obviously you want every landlord to be in one.
    How about we are allowed to be in a redress scheme which then allows us to evict our non paying and bad tenants within 4 weeks?
    We would happily be held to account as long as our tenants have to be held to the same standards

  6. I agree with Michael Johnson. It does seem like the Hooker family just lobby for stuff that will line their own pockets to the detriment of landlords. I find them shameful in a way because they like to portray themselves as landlords friends but they aren’t. They need to be separated from any connection with landlords associations if they keep allowing Sean to give off statements like this. Don’t even get me started on the blurb they put out for their OME scheme.

  7. Sean Hooker (pictured), Head of Redress at the Property Redress Scheme (PRS). He says it is time the government introduced a mandatory landlord redress scheme.

    Well of course he would say that as he represents one of the organisations that will directly benefit.
    Sometimes the articles published by landlord action seem more like advertorials designed to promote organisations that are actually against landlord’s interests.

    Landlords are already leaving the sector and I see no one like govt or councils stepping in to increase the availability of rental accommodation.

  8. I myself lived in a 4-story purpose-built block of flats and NEVER had an issue with mould in over 20 years.

    My immediate neighbours (They were owners not renters) came in for coffee one day and were amazed at my “Lovely flat”

    After a chat and a visit to their horrendously mouldy flat it was clear that THEY were the problem.
    Two female graduates one a Uni lecturer the other a city professional. (Educated but stupid)
    They never opened a window in the bathroom yet left the internal door open wide so lots of steam in the house. Same with kitchen.

    After some “Education” from me and a “How to avoid mould graphic” and a total repaint of the flat they have never had an issue with mould since. That was 5 years ago.

    Doing simple things like when finished in the shower open the window wide and close the bathroom door….

    There never was a problem with the building just the occupiers.

    Courts should be allowed to hear historical evidence from a landlord that previous tenants never had a problem and that the current tenant is actually the problem not the building and certainly not the landlord.

    TV journalists are not interested in facts just ratings…. just like Jeremy Kyle, Martin Bashir etc

    • Agreed
      We’re landlords and own our own home. I put the extractor fan on and shut the bathroom door when I use the shower. My wife employs the tactic of having a squeegy for the mirror and a bottle of spray bleach for when the black mould appears !
      It’s a struggle trying to persuade her that prevention is better, that it’s not expensive to have the fan going, and damp causes problems round the whole house. Easy to see why tenants claim it’s the landlords fault when that’s an easy way to claim a rent reduction or try and get the council to rehouse them – as we had with one couple we had in our flat.

  9. There already is a recourse scheme – complain to the Council. Our Labour controlled County Council hates landlords and regards them as capitalist scum and cash cows. Fortunately none of my tenants have ever complained, because they have never had anything to complain about.

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