More of us are renting than ever before – but we’re not all completely satisfied with the service we’re getting.
That’s the conclusion of a new survey conducted on our behalf, which reveals that half of the UK’s private tenants have felt ‘ripped off’ at some point by either their landlord or letting agent.
Dealing with the landlord
Of course, not all tenants have actually met their landlord as many rent their property through a letting agent and so have no cause to meet the building’s owner. Just short of half of the private tenant community communicate with their landlord directly; a quarter have dealings with both the landlord and letting agency; and a third deal exclusively with their letting agent.
Regardless of whether it’s the letting agent or landlord you speak with, you are paying for a service and if something goes wrong with your home it’s not unreasonable that you’ll expect something to be done about it. However, it seems not everyone is getting this treatment.
Renting a property rather than owning one doesn’t make it feel any less like a home. However, when something goes wrong and you’re unable to fix it yourself but have to wait for the landlord, it can feel less like the home you want.
Half of private renters say they felt ‘ripped’ off after their landlord or letting agent failed to carry out repairs when they requested them. Nearly the same number of respondents complained that even when the necessary work was done, there was a delay in completing it.
Failure to respond to repair requests was not the only reason letting agents and landlords were accused of ‘ripping off’ tenants though. A third of private renters said they were not refunded their tenancy deposit when they moved out; a quarter revealed an unreasonable deduction had been made to their deposit; and nearly the same number claimed they had experienced increases in their rent they felt weren’t reasonable.
Home is where the heart is
As we said, it doesn’t matter whether you own or rent the property you live in – it’s still your home. More than half of 18 to 24-year-olds and nearly the same number of 25 to 34-year-olds rent their home privately. This might be because buying somewhere is simply not realistic when you’re still getting your career off the ground.
Saving up a deposit to buy can take time and many people continue to rent while they do so. On the other hand, some people simply prefer renting because if something goes wrong they’re not usually responsible for fixing it. However, with so many private tenants complaining that this work is not getting done in a timely fashion, it might be time for certain landlords and letting agents to improve their services – so this key advantage of renting doesn’t start to feel like a disadvantage.
*OnePoll questioned a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults aged 18 and over between 6th June and 16th June 2014, of whom 500 were Scottish residents.
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