Tenancy agreements may be the next big change for the property market. Which?, the consumer watchdog, has been investigating the private rental sector (PRS), and has stated that a review is needed of tenancy agreements used by lettings agents.
The experiences of more than 2,500 tenants in England have been tracked by Which?. It looked into the processes of how they searched for rental accommodation, how they lived in it, and how they moved.
A housing lawyer was brought in to assess certain tenancy agreements, which they revealed to contain unclear language, as well as unfair clauses. For example, one stated that the tenant would be liable for costs that are actually a landlord’s responsibility, and another banned them from changing gas or electricity supplier.
The Government should provide an effective alternative dispute resolution scheme, the findings claim. The issue tenants have with being required to pay a deposit for a new tenancy, whilst also waiting for their previous one to be returned, is another matter that needs addressing.
Which? Chief Economist Rocio Concha has said: “Our comprehensive look at the experiences of tenants exposes the failings in a rental sector that has failed to keep pace with changes in society that have made renting a long term reality rather than just a stepping stone for millions of people.
“The Government must tackle the issues we have identified in our report head on, to ensure the rental market delivers for consumers.’
The watchdog also found evidence of issues ranging from poor property conditions to anxiety about reporting such problems. There is also a lack of awareness around landlord responsibilities and tenant rights, with some letting agents failing to provide necessary information.
Which? believes that all landlords should be registered with local authorities, and a database made publicly accessible, such as the rogue landlords and letting agents now in place within London.