Nearly 6,300 private renters in the North East of England lodged formal complaints to their local councils regarding their landlord between 2014 and 2015.
A freedom of information request submitted to the Tyne and Wear authorities has revealed that across the five councils, a total of 6,297 complaints were lodged by tenants about the condition of their properties or the conduct of their private landlord.
Local property campaigner Ajay Jagota submitted the request, which found that complaints spiked in 2015, with 2,215 received throughout that year. 2016 saw a rise of 3.4 per cent from 2014’s figure, with the former seeing 2,075 complaints and the latter a slightly smaller figure of 2,007.
Jagota, the founder of KIS, a sales and letting firm, said: ‘To put these figures into context, every day in every local authority in Tyne and Wear at least one person complains about the condition of their rented home– yet only one rogue landlord has been convicted in three years.’
However, what is most surprising about the information is that during the described period, just one council brought a successful prosecution against a rogue landlord, with Sunderland being the authority in question.
Newcastle saw the highest number of complaints, with figures rising from 1007 in 2014 to 1127 in 2016. In contrast, Sunderland saw complaints fall to just 290 last year from 509 in 2014, whilst Gateshead and North Tyneside saw complaint numbers rise.
South Tyneside council refused to supply the information due to time constraints. The decision has been appealed. Jagota commented: ‘As both a resident of and business owner in South Tyneside I find their decision to refuse our request extraordinary. How can you admit that you hold some information but at the same time claim you don’t know where it is?’
He added: ‘It’s critical for all good operators in the private rented sector that the rogues are brought to task and the only way that can happen is that the local authority executes the powers invested in them and ensure they take action when complaints are made.’