New research commissioned by awareness campaign specialist Kin Communications has revealed that a worryingly small percentage of tenants are clued up on their rights when it comes to tenancy deposits.
When surveying over 1,000 British people, Kin Communications found that a huge 98% of respondents were not aware of the laws regarding the 2004 Housing Act which states that landlords are required to keep deposits in a government approved tenancy deposit scheme, and flouting the rules can leave landlords facing a pay-out up to three times the amount of the deposit, as well as the original sum back to the tenant.
Delving deeper into public knowledge of tenancy regulations, the survey found that many people were also unaware of what happens to tenancy deposits when held, with 66% unable to give the correct answer for where tenancy deposits are held once taken. The number of those in the 18-24 age bracket who knew this was as low as 16%, showing a fundamental lack of knowledge on basic deposit rules.
When asked where deposits should be kept, 8% thought it was directly placed into the landlord’s bank account for safekeeping, whilst almost a quarter (24%) said that they thought it was in the care of their letting agent.
Rose Jinks, from buy-to-let insurance firm Just Landlords, commented on the results of the survey: “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 urge all of those in the private rental sector to understand their rights and responsibilities surrounding tenancy deposits.”
Whilst tenants can be forgiven for a lack of knowledge in the sector, the same cannot be said for landlords who should always make sure they are up to date with changes in regulations.
There is a strong argument for better education for tenants in the Private Rented Sector (PRS), many of whom might be renting for the first time and find themselves in a world they are unfamiliar with. As the PRS grows it is clear that this must be made a priority by all involved in the sector.
Are you a landlord or a tenant looking for advice on tenancy deposits? Speak to a member of the team at Intus Lettings today.