The astonishing level of illegal behaviour by North East landlords revealed

By Mike Kelly

A huge 43% of private renters in the North East – equivalent to 140,000 people - have been the victim of illegal behaviour from a landlord or letting agent, alarming new research from Shelter has revealed.

It is based on a study by YouGov, commissioned by the charity, who surveyed 3,500 English private renters.

Their findings revealed the most common illegal behaviour faced by renters in the North East was a landlord or letting agent entering their home without giving notice or a chance to give permission.

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In all, 20% of respondents had experienced this - the equivalent to 65,000 people.

Meanwhile safety and standards were also a concern, as 20% of the region's private renters (the equivalent of 66,000 people) said essential safety and household appliances like smoke alarms, central heating or water supplies were not working when they moved into a property.

And despite tenancy deposits often costing people thousands of pounds, 16% of private renters (52,000 people) said their landlord or letting agent had broken the law by failing to secure their deposit in an approved Government Protection Scheme.

And worryingly, 11% of private renters (37,000 people) said they have been treated unfairly by a landlord or letting agent due to their race, age, nationality, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

Ahead of the Conservative Party conference, Shelter is calling on the government to keep its promise to provide greater protections for renters.

Many private renters said essential safety appliances like smoke alarms were not working (John Stillwell/PA Wire)

The housing charity has warned that the upcoming, landmark Renters’ Reform Bill must include a National landlord Register to 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.

Tracy Guy, Newcastle Hub Manager at Shelter, said: "Home is everything. Yet tens of thousands or private renters across the North East 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.

“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."

* Any private renters worried about their housing situation can contact Shelter for free, expert advice by visiting: https://england.shelter.org.uk/get_help.

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