NLA Disputes Citizens Advice Report
By |Published On: 3rd June 2015|

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NLA Disputes Citizens Advice Report

By |Published On: 3rd June 2015|

This article is an external press release originally published on the Landlord News website, which has now been migrated to the Just Landlords blog.

The National Landlords Association (NLA) has disputed a recent report from The National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux, a national charity that helps people with their problems.

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) and housing minister Brandon Lewis have also contested the issues outlined in the report.

The document, titled A Nation of Renters: How England moved from secure family homes towards rundown rentals, suggests that private landlords offer a sub-standard service yet earn “£5.6 billion in rent on unsafe housing.”

Citizens Advice found that 16% of private rental housing is unsafe compared with just 6% of social sector homes. The charity also says that £1.3 billion in housing benefit goes to rogue landlords.

NLA Disputes Citizens Advice Report

NLA Disputes Citizens Advice Report

Furthermore, the report says that 740,000 households in England, including 510,000 families with children, live in private rental sector homes that pose a severe threat to their health. Additionally, it claims that rogue landlords receive £5.6 billion per year for unsafe homes that fail legal standards.

The reports indicates how “renting in England has changed dramatically in the past few decades with the number of households living in the private rental sector doubling in the last ten years.” 

The main findings of the report are:

  • 16% of private rental sector homes are physically unsafe.
  • 8% have serious damp.
  • 10% pose a risk of a dangerous fall.
  • 6% are excessively cold.
  • Private tenants living in properties with a category 1 hazard pay an average of £157 per week in rent.

The report is part of Citizens Advice’s Settled and Safe Campaign to protect private renters. It recommends:

  • Tenants should be entitled to rent refunds if homes are dangerous and not fit for habitation.
  • A national register of landlords – “This could help ensure landlords operating illegally cannot move to different areas to avoid legal action.”
  • Councils should also set up local licensing – “This will help to ensure landlords are providing the quality of housing and service the area needs and help to ensure tenants know what they can expect from a good landlord.”1

It is seemingly obvious that as private landlords take on more tenants who would previously have been housed in social housing, that more complaints will surface.

It is also likely that councils are avoiding addressing situations where rogue landlords are operating, as they have nowhere else to house tenants.

CEO of the NLA, Richard Lambert, comments on the report: “We recognise that bad practise exists in private housing, that it can have a devastating effect on those it affects and that it needs to be stamped out.

“But this report uses loose definitions to compound a perception that private housing is insecure and unsuitable across the board and it ignores the weight of evidence to the contrary.

“The English Housing Survey finds that the average tenancy now lasts just shy of four years and that only 7% of tenancies are ended by landlords. Our own research shows that 86% of families consider their properties as their home and that 62% do not see renting as a barrier to family life.

“Furthermore, just 0.5% of families who rent privately say they’ve had to move because their landlord increased their rent.

“What this shows is that private housing is far from Citizens Advice’s assertion of a market that is ‘failing systematically to deliver what consumers want.’”

“Those who suffer at the hands of the criminal and negligent minority do so because of widespread failure of local councils to commit resources to enforcing the laws that already exist against poor landlords and criminal standards, and because of the failure of successive governments to incentivise the building of much needed homes that would relieve the pressure on the whole housing market.”1



About the Author: Em Morley (she/they)

Em is the Content Marketing Manager for Just Landlords, with over five years of experience writing for insurance and property websites. Together with the knowledge and expertise of the Just Landlords underwriting team, Em aims to provide those in the property industry with helpful resources. When she’s not at her computer researching and writing property and insurance guides, you’ll find her exploring the British countryside, searching for geocaches.

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