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Helping tenants resolve housing issues

Half of tenants do not know where to seek help with housing problems


TDS Charitable Foundation has published a report which shows that 50% of private renters do not know where to go for help if their letting agent or landlord fails to address a problem they have.

 

The report looks at the barriers that both private and social housing tenants face in resolving their housing issues, and provides suggestions for how these barriers could be addressed. It is based on selected findings from two national representative surveys carried out in March 2024 with over 4,000 tenants.

Over the past six months, 61% of private renters experienced problems with the standard or quality of their accommodation. Most tenants (86%) had reported repairs and maintenance problems to their landlord or letting agent in the first instance, and 83% of tenants said the issues were addressed either fully or in part. However, when problems were not addressed, 48% said they wanted clearer information on how to raise a complaint.

 

The Renters (Reform) Bill and the redress landscape

 

The existing redress landscape for housing issues is complex and confusing. There are several places a person might go to resolve a problem, including: local councils, ombudsman schemes, county courts, tribunals, deposit adjudication services and trading standards.

 

The Renters (Reform) Bill, which is has passed the House of Commons and is currently making its way through the House of Lords, will only add to this array; it seeks to introduce a new Ombudsman for private landlords and establish a new ‘Property Portal’ for tenants to check whether properties meet all required standards.

 

The Bill also proposes to abolish Section 21 (although this has been delayed pending a review of the court system), in the hope that private renters will be empowered to challenge poor practices. However, the report shows that even if “no fault” evictions are removed, ongoing confusion within the existing system and lack of awareness about schemes that are available may still act as barriers to lodging complaints.

 

To address these barriers, the TDS Charitable Foundation is funding the creation of a “My Housing Issue” gateway website to help both private and social housing tenants progress towards a resolution of their disputes. 

 

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