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Tenants fear eviction over poor conditions complaints

Shelter Cymru paints an alarming picture of unprofessional practices by landlords. Photo: PA

Thousands living in the private rented sector are suffering ill-health as a result of poor conditions but are too scared of being evicted to complain, new research has found.

Carried out by YouGov for Shelter Cymru and British Gas it claims one in ten tenants surveyed said their health has been affected in the last year due to their landlord not dealing with repairs and poor conditions - 11% said that their children’s health had also been affected.

The charity says research strengthen the case for compulsory licensing. Credit: PA

Four per cent – equivalent to more than 17,800 people – said they had been threatened with eviction or actually evicted from their home in the last year because they raised problems with their landlord, letting agent or council about a problem that wasn’t their responsibility.

Some of the most startling findings include:

  • Nearly half of tenants (46 per cent) have had damp in the last 12 months
  • Nearly half (46 per cent) have had condensation
  • More than two in five (44 per cent) have had mould
  • More than two in five (42 per cent) have had poor insulation / excess cold
  • Nearly a third (30 per cent) have had leaking roofs or windows

The charity argues that the research findings strengthen the case for compulsory licensing for landlords and lettings agents, proposals for which are set out in the Welsh Government’s Housing Bill, currently being scrutinised in the Assembly.

It’s clear that we need some radical changes to improve standards and professionalism within the sector.

– John Puzey, director of Shelter Cymru
Four per cent said they had been threatened with eviction. Credit: PA

Smaller numbers of tenants also reported potentially fatal problems including gas leaks, carbon monoxide poisoning and fires caused by poor conditions.

The research was commissioned by Shelter Cymru and British Gas as part of their partnership to improve the conditions of privately rented homes.