Families’ health at risk as rogue landlords refuse repairs

15 October 2014

Rachel

More than 1 in 10 renting families have suffered health problems in the past year because of their landlords failing to deal with bad living conditions, research released today shows.

The YouGov survey of 4,500 private renters, commissioned by Shelter and British Gas, shows just how common these kinds of conditions are for renters – almost half said they’d lived somewhere with damp or mould in the past year.

Worse still, the study found that over 60,000 families were threatened with eviction in the past year, just for complaining about bad conditions in their homes.

The figures are released as part of Shelter’s campaign to end ‘revenge evictions’ by a small but dangerous minority of rogue landlords – a problem that’s especially worrying as more and more families are forced into private renting by high housing costs.

Tina, a mother of four from London, was evicted after she complained about dangerous electrical hazards in her home:

‘When we first moved in, the house seemed perfect and we were thrilled, but soon enough I realized that all of the problems had just been painted over.

‘The damp is so bad that mushrooms are now growing out of the walls, and a ceiling collapsed in my daughter’s bedroom. The worst was when my young son spilt a drink that went through the floorboards and caused huge electrical explosions because of exposed wiring.

‘All I asked was for the landlord to fix the problems so that I wouldn’t have to uproot my children’s lives. Instead, they would rather throw us out and rent the house to another unassuming family. This just shouldn’t be allowed to happen.’

Campbell Robb, Shelter's chief executive, said:

‘Every day, we hear from parents up and down the country living in fear that damp or gas and electrical hazards are putting their children in danger, but feeling powerless to do anything about it. This has to stop.

‘With a bill to end revenge evictions going through parliament next month, we now have a real chance to change the law and protect renting families. We're calling on people across the country to email their MPs and ask them to vote to end this unfair practice once and for all.’

The Bill to end revenge evictions has cross-party support, and will come before parliament on the 28 November. Shelter is calling on people across the country to email their MP, asking them to go to parliament on the day of the vote to end revenge evictions for good.

You can email your MP here