A new campaign has been launched by consumer watchdog Which? urging tenants to share their horror stories of agent mistreatment.
The campaign follows an undercover investigation that found renters were regularly being let down by their letting agents.
30 undercover researchers took part in the investigation and the results were backed by a survey of thousands of UK renters.
It was found that 20% of the properties visited had issues with damp, yet none of the agents looking after the rental of the property were able to commit to fixing the problems.
Overall, 90% of the undercover property viewings scored poorly on at least one measure and 50% of the visits led to the undercover investigators claiming they would not use that letting agent if they were renting a property.
The UK-wide survey also highlighted similar issues with 41% of respondents claiming to have experienced damp problems and 33% reporting issues with condensation.
The research highlighted the following as the most common property problems encountered by tenants:
- Plumbing/heating (60%)
- Damp or mould (41%)
- Condensation (33%)
- Draughts (19%)
- Structural problems (17%)
Other issues highlighted by the report include complications around the deposit paid to the landlord, unclear administration fees, and a lack of knowledge about health and safety requirements.
Alex Neill, managing director of home products and services for Which? said: “There are clearly real issues with letting agents showing prospective tenants properties that aren’t up to scratch. It’s unacceptable that all too often agents can’t answer basic questions about important issues like boiler safety and carbon monoxide alarms.
”Tenants need to be given clear and accurate information before moving into a new place and agents must do more to deliver an acceptable level of service .”
Which? Start Social Media Campaign
The findings of the investigation have prompted Which? into starting their own campaign on social media using the hashtag #RentRage.
When the letting agent accepts your holding deposit, it’s understandable to think you’ve just secured your new home — not that you’ve simply secured a spot in a bidding war.
— Which? (@WhichUK) July 3, 2018
As part of the campaign, renters are being urged to share their own horror stories of mistreatment by letting agents in an attempt to pressure agents into cleaning up their act.