Communities and Local Government CommitteeWritten evidence submitted by Duncan Layne

My experiences as a tenant in the Private Rented Sector.

Having spent over two years living in private rented housing I have first hand experience of the pitfalls.

Both houses were rented through the same professional lettings agency. I have no complaints about them, only the behaviour of the landlords. As a tenant I always paid my rent on time, even moving the date a few days forward at the request of the first landlord so it would arrive before his mortgage payment.

I entered the rental market enthusiastically waiting for prices to drop. After two and a half years I realised that there was no security and lots of problems so took out a mortgage and bought.

Wellesley Avenue, Mudeford, Christchurch BH23 4SX

The first house was rented from a person who had emigrated. However, despite agreeing not to they had left lots of stuff in the house which used space and I felt responsible for. There were also a number of faults with the house such as broken electric sockets (which unlike gas appliances aren’t covered by any regulations) and an incorrectly fitted gas heater (which was spotted during the gas safety survey and consequently disconnected). I later learnt that, when living there, the landlord had refused to let the person installing the heater fit the ventilation specified by the heaters manufacturer. Getting all these things sorted required several days off work.

Compared to the physical faults, a far the bigger problem was the landlords granddaughter who had lived there previously. Despite the fact that I offered to pay for it myself she refused to get her mail redirected, or even give me an address to forward it to. This was probably due to the majority of it being “red letters” from various finance companies. These were all taken each week to the lettings agency. On three occasions Bailiffs came to the house looking for her. On each occasion they were referred to the letting agency. After about six months I received a request from the lettings agency that she would like to come to the house and collect some photos that had been left there. This seemed to go without any problem and she found the photos and left. That evening I had so many problems with unsolicited taxis and takeaways coming around to the house that I ended up having to call the Police.

Due to this (and apparently an argument between her and the lettings agency earlier that day) the lettings agency decided that they no longer wanted to deal with that landlord and suggested I moved to a different property.

Elmwood Way, Highcliffe, Dorset BH23 5DL

This property had been previously been the landlords mothers who had had to move into a care home. It had been refurbished before rent and I have no complaints about the condition of the property. The landlord lived in Jersey and left all maintenance etc to the lettings agency.

I lived happily at this address for twenty months. Then in the middle of a family crisis (my Mother broke her hip) I receive a phone call from the lettings agency that the landlord wanted to sell as he “thought he could make more money from two flats”. However, he might consider keeping the property if the rent could be increased from £850 to £1,000 a month. Since I was in the middle of trying to find a care home for my Mother I agreed to that. About a week later I was told by the letting agency that the landlord had “redone his sums” and needed a rent increase of £250 a month (29%) and was still thinking of selling. Due to the lack of security, I used my three months notice period to find a mortgage and a property to buy. As the bungalow was full of my property, rather than having estate agents and potential buyers visit the bungalow unattended I had to take time from work to show them around. Despite the landlord trying to make the completion date for his buyers before the end of my contract, the lettings agency stood up for me and the keys were handed back on the last day of my contract, after I had moved.


In my opinion the problems with the current private rental market are a complete lack of security for tenants. In 30 months I had to move twice, neither being my choice.

Frequent moves are very inconvenient and expensive. Each time I moved I had to use a professional removals company which cost me over one months rent.

January 2013

Prepared 16th July 2013