As the vast majority of our landlords and buy to let insurance customers would agree, one of the keys to being successful in the property rental sector is keeping your property in a good state of repair. So news that almost a third of homes for rent in Bristol fail to meet basic standards will no doubt come as a surprise to many.

A survey carried out by the housing charity Shelter reported that 29.3% of the city’s 39,000 homes for rent are not properly heated, do not have modern facilities or are generally not in a decent state of repair. The charity also stated that complaints against private landlords had gone up from 248 in 2008/09 to 523 in 2011/12 – a rise of more than double over the last three years.

Gavin Dick, a spokesperson for the National Landlords Association expressed concern over the figures: “It’s an unfortunate situation where there are many criminals operating within the private rented sector to exploit people.

“Unfortunately the National Landlords Association doesn’t have the power to arrest people, that lies with the criminal justice system.”

Dick also said the organisation wanted councils to make more prosecutions against such landlords.

Bristol Council’s cabinet member for housing, Anthony Negus, pointed out that they were taking action against rogue landlords, with one recently being fined £200,000. He admitted that their actions were reactive – only taking place following a complaint – and that underfunding prevented them from providing a better service.
Negus said a new licensing scheme is soon to be introduced for private landlords, which would fund council officers I order to “get in ahead and deal with bad landlords”.