Our investigation has uncovered rental properties in poor condition, vital safety information being missed on top of financial stresses. Have you experienced similar issues with a rental property?
After we sent undercover researchers on 30 property viewings across England and Scotland, we’ve discovered that renters are being continually let down by letting agents.
20% of the properties they visited had problems with damp, while none of the agents were able to commit to fixing it. A major concern was also the lack of knowledge on carbon monoxide detectors – a potentially lethal issue.
Should renters really have to put up with these issues through gritted teeth?
Repairs: a leap of faith
Misrepresentation of how and when repairs would be done is another issue facing renters. Our researchers rated eight viewings as ‘poor’, finding that a common response to their questions was ‘it should be done before you move in’.
On multiple occasions, responsibility was brushed off onto the landlord with no specifics about who they were, or what their approach was to repair requests.
Property expert Kate Faulkner told us that work required should be made conditional as a special clause in the tenancy agreement. But if – as with many letting agents in England – you have to hand over a holding deposit before seeing a final contract, tenants still have to make a leap of faith.
Share your nightmare stories
With false advertising, heating and hot water issues and unclear admin fees contributing to the problems, the last thing you’ll want is a viewing that feels rushed or pressured, but that’s exactly what some of our researchers reported.
There are clearly real issues with letting agents showing prospective tenants properties that aren’t up to scratch, and it’s unacceptable that basic questions about important issues such as boiler safety and carbon monoxide alarms are going unanswered.
We believe tenants needs to be given clear and accurate information before moving in, and agents must do more to deliver an acceptable level of service.
We’ll be publishing a report on whether the sector is working for consumers later this year, so we want to hear your stories. Have you faced any of the issues mentioned in our investigation?
Let us know in the comments below, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org