Almost half a million renters could be too frightened to ask their landlord to fix faulty electrics, mend mouldy bathrooms or even deal with rats as the Covid-19 eviction ban comes to an end.
Eviction notice periods were extended to six months as an emergency measure during the height of the pandemic – but dropped to four months on June 1st.
Temporary regulations preventing the enforcement of repossession orders by bailiffs against tenants other than in the most serious circumstances also ended on May 31st.
Specialist Claims management company Veriwise believes insecurity caused by the end of the ban may put off struggling renters from contacting their landlords with maintenance concerns.
Figures from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation recently suggested that as many as 1,000,000 tenants may be at risk of losing their homes as the Eviction Ban comes to an end.
Research from Citizen’s Advice has suggested that almost one in two renters face eviction within six months of complaining about the condition of their property.
Further figures from Citizen’s Advice show that issues with mould, electrical faults and pest infestation are the three most common complaints experienced by renters – but that one in seven tenants do not even know who their landlord is or how to contact them with a complaint.
Veriwise Chief Executive Ajay Jagota said:
“With 3.4 million people still on furlough, 1.6 million people unemployed and countless others just getting by a lot of renters are understandably anxious about keeping a roof over their head, and the Eviction Ban gave them a little peace of mind that their landlords couldn’t kick them out just for complaining about the condition of their property.
“These figures show that they are right to be worried – it’s no wonder that so many renters would rather risk an unsafe or unsanitary home than to make a complaint to the people who have a legal responsibility to put things right.
“There are strict laws making it clear that rented housing must abide by the “fit for human habitation act” as well as laws preventing a landlord serving an eviction notice where a tenant has complained about disrepair called “revenge evictions”. But the vast majority of renters have no idea what their legal rights are and can’t afford the legal fees to effectively fight their case.
“It’s to be expected that most renters don’t have the confidence to negotiate with property investors or big institutional housing organisations, let alone the legal skills to argue their case.
“At Veriwise our mission is to level the playing field by providing access to justice and ensuring even the most vulnerable of renters are able to take benefit from the legal protections open to them, regardless of the circumstances – as well as seeking compensation where possible.”
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.
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