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As a result there is a huge demand for rented housing and councils are struggling to keep up with the demand for social housing units. In many cases they are turning to private landlords to provide the extra accommodation.

It’s a landlords market, and sadly, the result is that many of the rented homes are not being looked after properly. A recent report from the English Housing Survey revealed that around 41% of rented homes were sub-standard for living according to its strict criteria. A further 15% were reported to have serious damp issues.

The survey looked at various factors in people’s homes to establish whether or not it was up to reasonable living standard. The report focused on two main areas of the home – the kitchen and bathroom. For a home to pass the inspection it needed to have a bathroom that was less than 30 years old and a kitchen that was less than 20 years old. The homes also needed to have a reasonable amount of space and insulation from noise.

For many people, the report was a welcome confirmation of something they already knew. In Yorkshire, Steven Smith organizes a private tenant’s group. He claimed that ‘privately rented homes have been ignored until now because they have been in a minority and tenants have been younger and considered more able to fend for themselves. Now, the privately rented sector is growing and the tenants are all ages. There’s a need for action on property conditions and tenant rights.’

Sadly, the changes have not come into place yet and the number of complaints being registered with the Property Ombudsman is rising all the time. Tenants claim that they are suffering from extreme rent increases and that they are not being reimbursed for basic repairs or costs when calling out emergency plumbers or repairmen. At the moment it is not a legal requirement for landlords or agencies to join the Property Ombudsman so it’s more than likely that the worst offenders are not being punished.