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Shelter calls for National Landlord Register

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Almost half of private rental tenants have been victims of illegal acts by their landlords or letting agents, the homeless charity Shelter has claimed.

A YouGov survey of 3,500 English private renters commissioned by the charity found the most common complaint about disregard for the law was that landlords or letting agents had entered tenants homes without notice or a chance to give permission. A quarter of those surveyed, said this had happened.

The survey found that safety and standards were also a concern to one in five private renters. Many of these said essential safety or household appliances were not working when they moved into a property.  

Almost as many complained that their landlord or letting agent had broken the law by failing to secure their deposit in an approved deposit protection scheme. 

One in ten tenants claimed they had been threatened, harassed or assaulted by their landlord or letting agent. 

Shelter is using the results of its survey to call for the coming Renters’ Reform Bill to establish a National Landlord Register. This, it said, would ensure landlords fulfil their legal obligations, help regulate the private rental sector, and give renters the power to enforce their rights against law-breaking behaviour. 

‘Home is everything. Yet millions of private renters across the country don’t feel safe or secure in theirs because of landlords and agents who flout the law. People should not have to put up with broken safety alarms, strangers bursting into their homes unannounced or the threat of harassment and violence’, said Shelter chief executive Polly Neate. 

‘Enough is enough. Nobody is above the law and renters are tired of being powerless to enforce their rights. The Government has promised voters a fairer private renting system that punishes illegal behaviour by landlords and letting agents. To deliver on this promise, its Renters’ Reform Bill must include a National Landlord Register that makes landlords fully accountable and helps drive up standards across private renting’.