New research has found that around a third of tenants experience a lack of hot water and/or heating at some point during their tenancy.
Online letting agent PropertyLetByUS has conducted a study and found that the second most common complaint is for a leaking roof, with 22% of renters suffering from this issue.
14% of complaints are for mould and condensation, and faulty showers. Difficult window locks account for 10% of all complaints and 8% are for broken windows.
Of all complaints, 6% are for faulty smoke alarms and pests and vermin. Noisy neighbours caused 4% of complaints and 2% are for problems with fire escapes.
The study revealed that 20% of tenants are left waiting up to two months to have issues resolved, while 12% have never had problems fixed. Just a third of renters reported that their landlord fixes issues quickly.
Managing Director of PropertyLetByUS, Jane Morris, urges: “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.”
The firm mentions a recent case, where two landlords in Kent were fined £20,000 for leaving a property so severely damp that it posed a threat to tenants’ health. The landlords had left the renters living in these conditions and without heating for more than two years. The flat also lacked a fire safety alarm.
Morris warns landlords: “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 do 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.”
We suggest giving your tenants tips on how to control the situation before contractors arrive to fix problems, for example, turning off gas taps.
Gas or major electrical faults are considered urgent and should be fixed within 24 hours at least. This also applies to hot water and heating, especially in the winter.
Water leaks should be addressed within 24 hours, cookers within 48 hours, and other broken appliances within 72 hours.
Always keep your tenants informed of any action you are taking on repairs and remember to respond to important issues immediately.