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Six out of 10 people living in privately-rented accommodation in London are living with hazards which can be detrimental to their health and lower their quality of life, according to a new survey. The most common problem of landlord is damp or mould, with the research showing 39 per cent of tenants who responded to the survey had such problems. One in four complained about poor heating and insulation.

Many tenants also felt unsafe in their rented property, with about one in six saying that the doors or locks were not secure enough and a similar number indicating that the floors were uneven and easy to trip over. The study also showed that one in seven city tenants had electrical problems caused by wiring or the sockets with one in 100 saying that a fire had been caused by the poor conditions.

Housing charity Shelter commissioned the research which showed that tenants are paying a lot of money to live in terrible conditions. When you consider that about 25 per cent of people in the Capital rent from private landlords, it shows that something needs to be done to increase quality and living conditions.

Too many tenants and not enough properties

A major problem is that demand is far outstripping supply so tenants are forced to accept almost anything in order to get to work. The alternative is to find somewhere cheaper to live further out but then suffer the financial and time pressure associated with a prolonged commute.

Shelter is calling for a licensing system to be set up for landlords throughout London. This would be one way of making sure that there are minimum standards for landlords to adhere to.

The problem is not restricted to London; similar cases can be found in many cities where too many people are chasing too few properties. That is why it can pay dividends for renters to use licensed property managers or letting agencies to find their homes. They may pay more but will also have greater protection.

More rental regulations required

As more and more people will be living in rented accommodation in the future as house prices continue to rise at a far faster rate than wages, regulations need to be in place to improve the quality of the rental stock.

Some companies are looking at building specialist, serviced rental blocks which will be of a higher standard, with extras such as a gym, café or shared communal spaces. These specialist build-to-rent firms are also likely to promote themselves through marketing campaigns, highlighting the benefits of using a professional firm rather than a private landlord.