Landlords Ignoring Health And Safety Hazards

Lisa Smith, BA (Hons), CeFA

Many landlords turn a blind eye to health and safety hazards in homes they rent out, claims property compliance company VeriSmart.

The company inspected over 60,000 private rented homes last year and uncovered 4,520 with at least one Housing Health & Safety Rating Assessment (HHSRS) issue.

Missing or broken smoke detectors were the main problem(40%), followed by stair trip hazards (26%).

“Since the introduction of the Fitness for Human Habitation Act in place since March this year, along with many additional changes in legislation, landlords and their agents are now more at risk of being sued by tenants for breach of contract for unfit properties,” said spokesman Jonathan Senior.

Amateur landlords told to sell up

Buy to let is finished an amateur landlords should sell up and invest in build-to-rent companies instead.

That’s the message from Helen Gordon, the chief executive of Britain’s largest independent landlord, Grainger.

Gordon argues small landlords do not have the resources to rival bigger corporations and should buy shares in build-to-rent companies instead of investing in small-scale buy to let properties.

Speaking in an interview with The Times, she said: “Instead of people investing in buy-to-let properties, they should invest in a Grainger share. They would get 50% of our net rental income paid out as dividends.

“The tax regime looks increasingly unfavourable for private landlords.

“I think there are some big changes coming, which will make many people reconsider investing in buy to let. Are landlords going to be able to compete with the big build-to-rent operators for amenities or quality? It’s unlikely.

“Individual landlords will increasingly find it hard. In the past, people used to have awful student accommodation and then leave university and buy their own home.

“Today people often have fantastic quality student accommodation, full of amenities, and end up living somewhere really grotty. Why should they?”

Letting agents ordered to pay £1.5m compensation

Letting agents paid £1.54 million compensation last year in response to complaints from landlords and tenants, says the Property Ombudsman’s annual report.

Most complaints highlighted issues with communication, administration and complaint handling.

Property Ombudsman Katrine Sporle explained the rising number of complaints does not mean that standards are slipping.

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