Only 0.06% of renters know who is responsible for carrying out repairs on their home – equivalent to one tenant in every 1700.
Figures obtained from the Ministry of Justice by online claims management firm Veriwise confirm that only 5968 of tenants from the UK’s estimated 10,400,000 rented homes have used a government service confirming liability for repairs and maintenance in rented properties.
This suggests that 99.94% of renters could be putting up with – or even paying to fix - malfunctioning boilers, damp or mould, defective electrical wiring, leaking roof or gutters, faulty or broken windows or doors, rat infestations and even structural flaws.
Recently published official figures found that 23% of privately rented homes (and 12% of socially rented homes) fail to meet minimum standards and nearly a million rented homes in England have a problem with damp.
Under UK laws such as the Housing act 1988 and the Homes (fitness for human habitation) act 2018 the landlord is always responsible for ensuring that a rented property it fit for human habitation and has heating and hot water, safely functioning electrics, sanitary plumbing and structural stability.
Ajay Jagota, founder of online claims management firm Veriwise, responded to the figures:
“Evidence suggests conditions in rented homes have nose-dived during Covid-19 – as demonstrated in recent reports by Channel 4 News and ITV – but it’s clear that across the country completely reasonable and legally necessary requests to landlords to improve living conditions in their properties are falling on deaf ears.
“As these figures show, that problem is made much worse by the simple fact that so few renters know whose is responsible for repairing their property, and are left living with no heating, dangerous electrics, damp and mould, crumbling walls and even rats because their landlord won’t fix things – or even paying for it themselves.
“Renters don’t seem to realise they can use the courts to force their landlords to put things right – and that they could even be in line for compensation. Veriwise was created to ensure that those legal rights are available to everyone – not just people with the resources to hire solicitors.
“People don’t even know that the portal exists, which is hardly surprising – the government many as well have put it in witness protection for all the effort it’s gone to to draw attention to it”.
Veriwise takes on housing disrepair claims on behalf of renters, negotiating with councils or private landlords to get property maintenance issues fixed quickly and claim compensation for renters from landlords. In cases where the landlord does not comply Veriwise have a panel of solicitors who can take the case to court to ensure the landlord complies and pays any compensation.
All renters have to do is submit the issues they are experiencing with their rented home online, allowing Veriwise to identify legal breaches and follow them up with landlords to rapidly resolve the issue and seek compensation where appropriate.
Veriwise is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.