Private renters stuck in dangerous homes ‘failed’ by councils

Tenants who complain of dangerous or potentially deadly faults in privately rented homes are being let down by councils, a BBC investigation suggests.

When landlords fail to fix hazards – including serious faults that pose an immediate risk to health – councils in England have a legal duty to act.

But BBC News found the number of times councils use enforcement powers is far lower than the number of reports made.

The LGA, representing councils, says formal enforcement is a “last resort”.

BBC News asked councils in England how many hazards – classed as either category one or two – they had recorded in the last five years. We also asked how many times they had used enforcement powers in that time.

Not all councils could provide the information. But of the 60% of councils analysed, a total of 135,687 hazards were recorded, including 42,654 category one hazards – deemed to pose an immediate risk to safety.

In the same period, formal action was only taken by councils on 25,243…

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