One in ten South East renters the victim of law-breaking landlords

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In the last year alone, 120,000 private renters in the South East of England were victims of an illegal act committed by their landlords, new research has revealed.

That is the equivalent to one in ten of all private renters in the region, and nationally over a million, or one in eight, suffered at the hands of a landlord who broke the law.

The survey by Shelter and YouGov uncovered a range of problems with landlords in the South East, ranging from unlawful behaviour to serious criminal offences.

Shelter’s helpline adviser, Danielle Goodwin, said: “Every day at Shelter we speak to people at the end of their tether after a law-breaking landlord has caused chaos in their lives.

“These range from instances where the renter has been unaware of their rights, to cases where renters are exploited and subjected to terrible experiences by a minority of law breaking landlords.

While reports of landlords entering homes without permission and deposits not being properly protected were among the most common complaints, many cases of shocking behaviour from rogue landlords were also uncovered in the survey.

The most striking findings from the South East region included:

The equivalent of almost 2,500 renters reported that a landlord has cut off their utilities without their consent.

Over 74,000 renters have had their home entered by a landlord without permission or notice being given.

Nearly 20,000 reported having been abused, threatened or harassed by a landlord.

Nearly 10,000 renters felt they had been treated unfairly due to their race, nationality, gender or sexual orientation.

In just the last year, the housing charity Shelter’s website has received over 220,000 unique visits to its advice pages for people facing problems with a private landlord.

Danielle added: “Too many people simply don’t know their rights as a renter – but Shelter is here to help anyone having landlord problems with free, expert advice.

“As a first port of call go to shelter.org.uk/advice or for urgent problems call our helpline on 0808 800 4444.”

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