Fear and loathing in London: Renters risk health and are scared to ask rogue landlords for property repairs due to ‘revenge evictions’

Londoners fear asking rogue landlords to fix a property problem in case they become victims of revenge evictions, according to new research.

Shelter revealed that 11% of renters feared being evicted by a small, but dangerous, minority of property owners in an already crowded housing market.

The figures are being released as part of its campaign to change the law to protect renters from such evictions

Shelter’s chief executive, Campbell Robb, said: “No family should have to live in a home that puts their health and well-being at risk, let alone face eviction just for asking their landlord to fix a problem.”

Shelter found shocking examples of revenge evictions happening across the country.

Tina Osborne lives in a rented property with her four children. Her landlord evicted them after she complained about electrical hazards and poor conditions in her home.

She explained: “When we first moved in, the house seemed perfect and we were thrilled, but soon enough I realised that all of the problems had just been painted over.

“The damp is so bad that mushrooms are now growing out of the walls, and a ceiling collapsed in my daughter’s bedroom.

“The worst was when my young son spilt a drink that went through the floorboards and caused huge electrical explosions because of exposed wiring.

“All I asked was for the landlord to fix the problems so that I wouldn’t have to uproot my children’s lives.

“Instead, they would rather throw us out and rent the house to another unassuming family. This just shouldn’t be allowed to happen.”

The research, commissioned by Shelter and British Gas, also highlighted that more than two-fifths of renters have lived in a property with mould (44%) and damp (41%) in the past year causing conditions such as asthma and eczema.

Mr Robb added: “Every day, we hear from parents up and down the country living in fear that damp or gas and electrical hazards are putting their children in danger, but feeling powerless to do anything about it. This has to stop.

“With a bill to end revenge evictions going through parliament next month, we now have a real chance to change the law and protect renting families.

“We’re calling on people across the country to email their MPs and ask them to vote to end this unfair practice once and for all.”

British Gas engineer Ben Whitehouse, said: “As a British Gas engineer I visit hundreds of homes a year, many of which are rented properties.

“Most landlords take their responsibilities seriously and take simple steps to make homes safe, like ensuring that appliances are correctly installed and regularly serviced, and by installing audible carbon monoxide alarms.

“It’s important that tenants have the confidence to complain to their landlords about potentially dangerous conditions, especially when gas and electrical safety is so vital and easy to get right.”

On November 28 politicians will have the chance to vote on a bill which has cross-party support to protect renters from unfair evictions.

Picture courtesy of Images_of_Money, with thanks

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