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Survey reveals tenants' shocking lack of knowledge about renting

A survey of 1,000 tenants and landlords has provided evidence of what many agents already know - that the growing complexity of the private rental sector is proving challenging for many tenants and landlords alike to understand.

Just under half of tenants had never heard of ‘fake landlord’ scams, despite such practices being covered extensively by the media in the last 12 months.

In 2015, rental fraud cases reported to government body Action Fraud rose by 44 per cent on the previous year while the Local Government Association suggests this represents just five per cent of the true number of victims, because the vast majority of such cases go unreported. The government says fake landlord scams lead to £63m being lost by tenants each year.

The survey also uncovered a lack of awareness concerning government-backed initiatives such as mandatory membership by agents of one of three redress schemes as well as localised landlord licensing and accreditation schemes. Some 60 per cent of respondents were unaware of the existence of any of these schemes. 

“While the vast majority of private rental sector landlords are providing safe and secure homes for renters across the country we are aware the criminal minority are out there. The Residential Landlords’ Association has always promoted tenant and landlord education to encourage a greater awareness of responsibilities among both landlords and tenants, which in turn improves standards in the sector” says Andrew Goodacre, RLA chief executive. 

The survey was conducted for RentProfile, a landlord checking service.

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