One in ten tenants have withheld rent over delayed repairs

by Gary Whittaker

Ten per cent of tenants have withheld rent due to landlords or letting agents taking too long to carry out property repairs. 

This is according to a recent survey by HomeServe, which found 34 per cent of renters have faced a "home emergency", such as a broken boiler, over the past 12 months. Nearly half (48 per cent) of respondents said they would be willing to withhold rent if a problem like this was not fixed quickly. 

HomeServe revealed only 31 per cent of urgent issues were dealt with within 24 hours, while 23 per cent took in excess of a week to be solved. 

The organisation suggested the problem is worse for tenants who live in a property that is managed by the landlord directly rather than an agency. Its research found only 32 per cent of rental property owners use an agent's services.

Jonathan King, HomeServe chief executive, stated: "Most landlords are responsible and responsive to their tenants' needs. But it's clear that with many determined to manage their properties themselves, either to ensure the quality of the job done or to manage costs, this is creating dissatisfaction among some tenants."

"As more and more people rent, and rents increase, landlords need to make sure they are offering their tenants a smooth service," he added.

HomeServe's research found 34 per cent of landlords manage every aspect of their property portfolio alone, while 20 per cent of tenants said the property owner actually carries out repairs themselves. 

However, this means renters often have to wait until working hours before they can inform their landlord of a problem. Close to two-thirds (62 per cent) of the tenants surveyed said they think their landlord should offer a 24-hour service.

The most common emergencies suffered by renters are central heating and boiler faults, with 15 per cent and 14 per cent being affected by these issues in the past year respectively. Blocked sinks (13 per cent) and drains (ten per cent) are also regular problems.ADNFCR-1064-ID-801670995-ADNFCR

10-December-13General Lettings News