According to a Survation poll of private renters, just 23% remember receiving a Government How to Rent guide at the start of their tenancy.
And, many landlords are failing to provide renters with other essential documents:
- 64% of renters don’t remember receiving an Energy Performance Certificate
- 56% don’t remember receiving a gas safety certificate
- 53% don’t remember receiving information about where their deposit is protected
Failure to provide all of these documents makes a no-fault Section 21 eviction notice invalid. Such a notice is also invalid if the deposit isn’t protected in an approved scheme. If the deposit is not protected, tenants could also be entitled to compensation worth up to three times the deposit’s value.
The Survation survey, commissioned by us, also found little awareness of councils’ abilities to support renters. One in 12 private renters (8%) said they had experienced harassment in the last five years, but nearly half (48%) were unaware that their council has the power to step in if they are being harassed by their landlord.
Mould and damp are the most common problems renters face, with 37% experiencing these in the last five years. This is compared with 30% of renters having heating and hot water not working, 25% living with leaks or draughts, and 18% experiencing faulty electrics. Yet, nearly a third (32%) did not know that councils had powers to protect renters from unsafe homes.
Because this lack of knowledge can be dangerous for renters, we are launching the first Renters’ Rights Awareness Week, taking place on 14-20 June. You can learn about your rights in a series of free webinars – sign up here!
Renting is so complicated, it’s easy for tenants to get mistreated by landlords and letting agents who may have no interest in having well-informed customers. Tenancy deposits alone can involve a range of problems and it is not obvious when you should go to court, a protection scheme, a tribunal or the council to get yours resolved.
Although the system needs reform, renters have more protections than it appears, particularly if your landlord has failed in their responsibilities. This can be valuable knowledge now that eviction notice periods have been reduced and landlords throughout England are taking advantage.
Knowing about your rights and how you can exercise them can avoid a lot of stress and save money. Renters’ Rights Awareness Week is an opportunity to gain the knowledge to manage your home confidently.
Learn more about Renters’ Rights Awareness Week and get involved here.
A summary of the Survation questions and responses is available here.
We have more information about what to do if your landlord wants you to move out here.