A new survey compiling the experience of almost 20,000 renters has revealed the shocking state of the rental market in one of the world's wealthiest cities.
After sifting through the data, rental homes brand, Tipi, who ran the survey, has identified five main issues that London's renters face today.
Rajesh Shah, Managing Director, Tipi, said: "We absolutely expected that there would be plenty of renters out there with tales of woe. What we didn't anticipate was nearly 20,000 respondents, each with a unique and disturbing experience of renting, the majority in London. In simple terms, renting in London is broken for too many people. Now, we want to shed light on the rental community's experiences and let Londoners know that there is another way!"
Tenants reported mouse, rat, cockroach and wasp infestations, which many had to pay to resolve themselves as a result of disinterested landlords. One renter, Liberty, had so many cockroaches in the home she rented that everything had to be kept in sealed plastic boxes. A cockroach even fell from the ceiling into her dinner on one occasion. Elsewhere in London, tenant Megan lived in a property with such a bad damp issue that the bathroom walls grew mushrooms. Mikala, meanwhile, had to share the single room she rented with so many mice that her partner even spotted one running across the single bed they were sharing.
According to Trust for London, 13% of social renting households and 11% of privately renting households in London are overcrowded. Both figures are more than double the rate for other areas of England. Tipi's survey certainly backed up the findings. One reported sharing a four-bedroom warehouse with nine people. Another told of the morning that two girls arrived at her door, ready to move in. The landlord had forgotten the existing tenants and signed a lease with two new ones. As the new tenants moved in, the existing ones were decamped to the basement. Unfurnished and with limited electricity, no kitchen and a barely working toilet, it was a grim experience. A flood the following week which damaged all the tenants' belongings was the last straw.
Renters want to feel safe and secure in their homes, however, this is often far from the case. Carys was paying £999 per month when she found that her front door wouldn't close and lock properly. She contacted her letting agent, only to find that the door's second lock had failed two days later. The landlord left it a further three days before fixing the front door, meaning that Carys had to barricade the door shut in the interim. Other tenants reported issues ranging from other people having access to their property to landlords and workmen making unannounced visits.
Security of tenure is another big issue for tenants across the capital, with current legislation offering no protection for tenants whose landlords suddenly decide to sell their home. In some cases, tenants who have lived in a property for years have been given just a few weeks' notice that they will need to pack up and leave, despite having been model tenants the whole time.
The law requires landlords to place tenants' deposits in a deposit protection scheme. However, it sadly comes as no surprise that not all landlords are as keen to hand deposits back as they should be. Many of London's renters have had to fight to get their deposits back, while some have lost them entirely.
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