Only 2% Of Private Renters Understand Their Rights

Despite the fact that a fifth of the UK population, or over five million people, currently privately rent in the UK, the majority of tenants are oblivious of their rights.

According to a recent report of over 1,000 people, carried out by Just Landlords, almost all tenants are dangerously uninformed over their rights when it comes to the tenancy deposit.

The housing Act 2004, dictates that landlords in England and Wales have a legal obligation to place tenancy deposits from all Assured Shorthold Tenancies in a Government Approved Scheme. Failure to do so could mean that the landlord would need to pay the tenant three times the amount of the original deposit on top of the deposit itself.

Only 2% of the respondents were aware of the law, with 98% unsure of their rights. 70% of those aged over 55-years thought the maximum they would receive was the full amount plus the deposit.

The report fears that a lack of understanding could mean that the tenant is abused and exploited by rogue landlords in the future.

People were also unaware of where the deposit should be held during the tenancy. 8% assumed the deposit money would be held in the landlords personal account with a quarter of people adamant that the money was protected through the letting agency.

Overall, 66% were oblivious as to where their deposit sits whilst they lived in the property.

Rose Jinks, the Spokesperson for Just Landlords, says: “It’s shocking that so few people understand their rights when it comes to tenancy deposits, especially as more people than ever rent from a private landlord. We believe that the companies currently seeking PPI compensation for consumers may turn to unclaimed tenancy deposits when the deadline comes into force in August next year.

“Tenants may find that they could claim back three times their deposit, plus the original deposit amount, if their landlord didn’t comply with the law, while landlords could be faced with a significant bill. We urge all of those in the private rental sector to understand their rights and responsibilities surrounding tenancy deposits.”

Whilst the country lives in a state of naivety and the PPI wave is crashing in 2019, companies could look to exploit this gap in the market.

Were you aware of this law? Should the public be given more information to help protect them against rogue landlords?

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