Ask Tenants blog
Tenants have been posting Landlord reviews on Asktenants.co.uk for many years now with the website now hosting thousands of landlord reviews. In this blog we will go through some of the landlord reviews posted by tenants covering maintenance and privacy concerns. We will then summarize the learnings from these landlord reviews and list out actions on what landlords can do differently to address these concerns.
Section 1: Rate my Landlord reviews about maintenance:
A landlord review by a West London tenant said “The property has mice infestation due to poor maintenance of the house structure, very well masked by the expensive kitchen appliances. When we noticed it we also found old boxes of poison indicating that it was not a new issue”
Manchester tenant’s landlord review said “The 2 bedrooms flat had many issues, including mold at various spots on the wall and furniture, a broken tap, and a high-pitched noise coming from the electricals. No lock on the mailbox for months and still not resolved when we moved out”
A tenant from Pinner Harrow said on her landlord review “I have had maintenance pending for 5 months and nothing has been. I have had a door broken. No one bothered fixing it. The toilet seat was broken my entire tenancy”
A Southwest London tenant’s landlord review states “The flat itself had several issues, including: – A very old boiler that would break down at least once a year and take weeks to get fixed. Every engineer would say it needed to be replaced and that the issue would come back. A) Generally, very cold, not helped by the old boiler B) Damp and musty C) A mouse problem every winter”
A tenant in Harrow spoke about microwave is partially open from the sides, leaking radiation with usage and many tenants complained about dangerous plug points/wiring on their landlord reviews.
Several landlord reviews are about property getting very cold in winter (some calling out up to 14 degrees celsius) and too hot in summer with no ventilation/windows.
The common theme across all these landlord reviews was lack of responsiveness from the landlord and the estate agent with emails/phone calls not being answered or taking days to be answered. This left tenant exposed circumstances like no hot water, black mould and dangerous electrical wiring.
Section 2: Rate my Landlord reviews about lack of privacy and communication style:
A landlord review from Billingshurst said “Landlord had to drive past house every single day. Landlord was always ‘popping around’ breaching quiet enjoyment”
A tenant in Tollington Park said “Lovely flat but landlord who lived abroad was a little challenging via email as the responses sometimes felt quite aggressive (e.g. responses with a lot of caps and exclamation points, sudden escalation of tone etc.)”
A Kingston upon Thames tenant while happy with the flat said “Lovely flat, refurbished to a high standard, great location. However – grass/shrub cutters come almost every week around 7:00am making it impossible to sleep for the next several hours”
A Landlord review from North London stated “The landlord made the estate agent call her and show her everything while in FaceTime. She invaded our privacy we never felt like this was our house”
A Southampton tenant who lived as a lodger said “Lodgers in a live-in landlord situation do not enjoy the same rights as tenants of live-out landlord properties. As a lodger you will have to abide by the rules of the landlord, as unreasonable as they may sound to you. The landlord works from the living room, which is not available during the day, and sometimes also in the evenings and weekends, so be prepared to not be able to use it at your convenience. Food is not allowed in the living room, or in the bedroom”
Section 3: Key takeaway’s for landlords/estate agents on how to improve tenant’s experiences:
Most of the landlord reviews from tenants are about issues which can be rectified without a major financial investment. Its mostly about landlord being aware of the issues with the property, being prepared to deal with them and prioritising them. Here are top five takeaways:
Any property can have issues but tenants’ number 1 complaint is that when they have problems landlords or agents take ages to respond acknowledging the issue. Landlords should be approachable and must immediately respond acknowledging the problem and laying out the next steps. Landlords must clearly mention to the tenants on who is the point of contact when they have issues to avoid tenants going back and forth between estate agents and landlord.
List of reliable tradesmen pre-identified and screened and acting quickly:
Before renting out the property landlords must have a list of plumbers, mould removal specialists, pest controllers, handyman’s etc. The standard rates should be agreed with them to avoid losing time on negotiation while dealing with live issues. Its important to have 3-4 vendors for each service as more often than not good tradesmen will have long wait time. As soon as the issue is reported by tenant, the landlords should ask for details like images or other details and pass it on to tradesmen. Landlords must ensure that they act quickly on fixing the problems (2-3 days on urgent issues like boiler breakdown and a 1-2 weeks on issues like mice, hazardous black mould etc.)
- Gap between two tenancies and fixing the root cause of the issues: Before renting the property to new tenants, Landlords must visit the property and have a chat with the tenant leaving the property to learn about the top issues they faced. They should leave at least 2-weeks between tenancies to carry out maintenance. Structural issues like black mould, mice etc. must not be taken lightly and the root cause must be rectified instead of temporary fixes. Example the black mould may need dehumidifying units or chemical injection treatment to done by a mould removal specialist. Black mould can lead to serious health issues to tenants and can potentially leave landlords exposed to legal consequences. Similarly, mice infestation may be due to holes/entry points being identified and sealed off by experts.
Respective the privacy of tenants:
The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 allows your landlord access to inspect the property, as long as they have given you at least 24 hours’ notice and that the proposed visit is at a reasonable time. The landlord should give you notice in writing, stating who will enter the property and why. However, the landlord reviews on Asktenants.co.uk show that landlords do not follow this law. Landlords should limit routine visits to the property to quarterly visits and make sure they have a clear inspection checklist to make the most of the visit.
Be professional in written and verbal communication:
Many landlord reviews highlighted by tenants show that landlords are using intimidating language. This should be avoided at landlords must be professional at all times even in case of disagreements with tenants. Overseas landlords should consider appointing agents to manage the properties as there have been multiple reviews about poor experiences due to overseas landlords not able to inspect the issues reported by tenants.
Conclusion: To summarize the bottom line is that renting a property is a business just like any other business and tenants should be treated like customers. Currently there are too many unhappy tenants and industry is ripe for regulatory changes exposing unprepared landlords to legal challenges from no win no fee solicitors. Landlord reviews on Asktenants.co.uk show that tenants’ issues are pretty basic and planning ahead by landlords will result in win-win relationship between landlords and tenants.