Private landlords hit out at 'misleading' home stats
Published by 24publishing for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Environment
RLA slams Shelter & British Gas partnership's statistics
A leading body representing private landlords has accused a new partnership between Shelter and British Gas - to improve some 1m homes in the sector - of being "misleading" with its statistics.
The 'Better Homes for Britain' partnership aims to help landlords meet the statutory minimum standard for private rented homes and make policy recommendations to raise conditions in the sector.
They claim that around 1.4m (37%) of Britain's 3.62m private rented homes do not meet the basic standard of being a ‘decent home', due to issues including damp, disrepair and insufficient or broken heating.
However, the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) - which represents over 15,000 private landlords - points out that the Government’s own English Housing Survey shows that 84% of tenants in the sector are satisfied with their tenancies.
It argues that the statistics quoted in the press release from British Gas and Shelter are "misleading" for a number of reasons, including the fact that they don't make a reasonable comparison with the owner occupied sector.
It said: "The combinations of poor electrical safety, carbon monoxide problems and damp are not a logical group to tie together as the press release does. Causes of damp are manifold and may be due to tenant behaviour, such as drying washing indoors."
It also hit out at claims homes in the sector were too cold. It said: "Affordability of heating is increasingly important as the cost of energy rises. Many of those in energy poverty are vulnerable tenants unable to afford the cost, even though their private rented home is provided with the means of heating."
The RLA believes that energy problems are a concern for all, not just the private sector.
Alan Ward, Chairman of the Residential Landlords Association, said: “When choosing a rented home, tenants should ask for details of heating costs, as well as safety certificates for gas and electricity. And preferably use a landlord belonging to a reputable association or accreditation scheme, or a regulated agent."