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Why are we seeing a rise in non-compliant landlords?

View profile for Gina Peters
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Why are we seeing a rise in non-compliant landlords?
  • Media frenzy causing a distrust in landlords

  • Rise in disputes between landlords and tenants

  • Buy-to-let industry lacking support from Government

Recently in the media there has been a drastic increase of stories covering landlord and tenant disputes, with damp and mould complaints seemingly being the main target. Dutton Gregory Solicitors have noted a rise in these complaints, as well as many tenants going to quick fix companies created to target specific issues within the lettings sector.

Often seen advertised in some over the top advert, like the ‘have you had an accident at work?’ personal injury lawyer, there is a rise in services specifically for tenants of  private rented properties. Gina Peters, Head of Landlord & Tenant at Dutton Gregory Solicitors, has said the rise in this type of targeted service has only caused a rise in distrust for landlords, with these ‘housing disrepair experts’ painting many landlords as 'non-compliant', in order to market their services. 

Gina Peters, Head of Landlord & Tenant at Dutton Gregory Solicitors, said: “This is very much a case of perception versus reality, with the media creating this story that all landlords are not to be trusted. Most landlords are in fact compliant but lack support from the Government.

“Due to little funding and incentives for the industry, yes, we have seen a rise in disputes. The Government has created a very hostile environment, with the intended abolishment of Section 21 causing an increase in notices being served, more landlords selling up their portfolios due to financial pressure and uncertainty, and little to no support to make  properties more energy efficient and safer for tenants. This together with a rise in these new anti-landlord style companies for tenant disputes, have led to a belief that many landlords are failing to comply with the legalities of renting property in England.

“Local authorities who would normally investigate these claims and disputes are underfunded and under-resourced. There are now many licence schemes in place, which differ in each borough and can catch landlords out unintentionally.

“With the rise in these new style tenant-oriented companies it is painting, in many cases, a landscape that suggests landlords are there to be sued. Many of the applications that these new companies are handling can be made to the First Tier Tribunal by tenants themselves as there are no costs to be gained from such action from a landlord.

"I accept that some tenants may not be aware of their rights, but there is a fine line between providing legal advice and jumping on the bandwagon to ensure landlords are sued at the first hint of non-compliance.  It is not helping the overall landscape within the private rented sector.”

Gina Peters, Head of the Landlord and Tenant department at Dutton Gregory, has specialised in residential landlord and tenant law for 22 years. She has advised clients through the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, the Housing Act 1988 and 1996, and the Deregulation Act 2015 – and now the 2023 Renters Reform Bill. Gina is also the author of the award-nominated book: ‘Lettings Law for Property Professionals: Your Legal Questions Answered’, which provides a firm basis and reference for many regularly asked about legal topics.