News: Clueless tenants 'at risk'

Thu, 22 Nov 07

Half of UK tenants fail to sign a tenancy agreement before moving into their home, research has found...

Although landlords are legally obliged to ensure tenancy agreements are signed before tenants move into their properties, 50 per cent of those who rent their homes report this is not happening. As such those tenants without the necessary contract are at the legal mercy of their landlords, says AA Legal Services.

It found a further 70 per cent of renters also failed to check the inventory for their property before moving in. Meanwhile 55 per cent of the 1,833 tenants questioned by YouGov for the organisation admitted they did not ensure their rental payments were clearly documented, acknowledging the failure left them open to the possibility of paying more than they should.

An additional 26 per cent admitted they had failed to check whether any necessary repair work was included as part of their contract with their landlord, while 22 per cent neglected to ask how their deposit would be retained by the owner of their home.

Lack of awareness

Three in five renters (59 per cent) also acknowledged they were unaware of the notice period required on their rental property, a lack of awareness which could leave them with unbudgeted rent payments to make.

Furthermore, the poll found over half (55 per cent) of tenants were also leaving themselves exposed to unexpected household bills by failing to take gas, electricity or water meter readings before they moved into their home.

Head of AA Legal Services, James Molloy, warned tenants: "It is vital that you agree your tenancy agreement and check everything, including inventory and utility meter readings, before you accept the keys to your rented home.

"Yet thousands of people are just not doing so and are putting themselves and their home at risk," he added

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