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The top cause of complaint from tenants in the UK is a faulty boiler
Nearly a third of tenants suffering from lack of hot water and/or heating at some time during their tenancy.
A new survey conducted by online letting agent PropertyLetByUs, also found that the second most common complaint was a leaking roof with 22% of respondents experiencing this problem.
Mould and condensation accounted for 14% of complaints, as did faulty showers while problematic window locks accounted for 10% and broken windows 8%.
Faulty smoke alarms was the cause of 6% of complaints, as was pests and vermin, while noisy neighbours caused 4% of complaints and problems with fire escapes 2%.
The research also shows that some tenants are waiting a long time to get problems fixed. Nearly 20% of tenants are having to wait up to two months, while 12% of tenants have experienced landlords that never fix the problem. Just a third of tenants report that their landlord fixes problems quickly, within a couple of days.
‘Landlords have a duty of care for their tenants and leaving problems, such as faulty boilers can be very dangerous and put lives at risk. Some tenants are having to wait long periods of time to get problems fixed, which is unacceptable. It is worrying that only a third of landlords deal with tenant problems quickly,’ said Jane Morris, the firm’s managing director.
The firm pointed out that only recently, two Kent landlords were fined £20,000 for leaving a flat so severely riddled with damp it posed a risk to tenants’ health. The landlords had left tenants living in damp conditions and without heating for more than two years. Both properties were also lacking vital fire safety alarms.
‘Whilst this may be an extreme case, the message is clear. Landlords and agents should deal with maintenance issues as quickly as possible. If they delay, issues can deteriorate, resulting in a higher cost to the landlord or tenant. It is also important that landlords or their agent make regular maintenance checks, ideally every three months, so they can identify potential and existing issues and sort them quickly,’ added Morris.
The firm also pointed out that landlords and agents have a duty of care to advise tenants on the correct course of action while contractors are organised, such as turning off gas taps, water stop cocks or main electricity supplies, to ensure that any problem does not cause danger to life and property.
Any gas or major electrical fault is classed as urgent and should be attended to within 24 hours or less. This also applies when heating or hot water is affected, especially during cold weather.
Water leaks should be dealt with within 24 hours, cookers within 48 hours and other broken appliances such washing machines and dish washers should be attended to within 72 hours.
Communication is key and the landlord or agent should keep the tenant informed of the action.