Over 1.5 million renters across the UK could be at risk of losing their deposits after new research from comparethemarket.comreveals that one third (33%) of renters know that their landlord has not placed their money into a Government-backed deposit protection scheme (DPS). Despite the legal obligation which requires landlords to put deposits into schemes such as the DPS, polling also shows that a further third (35%) of renters do not know the whereabouts of their down payment.
For some landlords, the misdemeanours go beyond a lack of deposit management. One fifth (19%) of tenants claim that they do not have a contract with their landlord, leaving a significant minority of renters, and landlords, in a risky position should any serious legal issues arise. Research also reveals that it has become commonplace for landlords to deduct money from tenants’ deposits, as almost one fifth (18%) claim to have had money taken from their deposit when leaving a property.
Research suggests that some landlords can be slow to respond to renter requests, with almost one third (30%) reporting that they need to chase their landlord when a problem requires fixing. A further one in ten (12%) claim that they have to make repeated efforts before receiving a response. Almost one in ten (9%) tenants say that it can take between a fortnight and a month for an issue at their property to be resolved. However, in these cases the landlord is not always at fault, as barriers to access could account for some of these problems, as over one in ten (14%) renters must go through their letting agency in order to contact their landlord.
Nonetheless, disengagement with responsibilities seems to affect both landlords and tenants, as research reveals renters to be a worryingly underinsured demographic. Over one third (36%) do not have contents insurance policies in place which offer protection against burglaries theft and damage
Younger people are the least likely to take out any insurance, with almost half (46%) of 18-34-year-olds failing to take out a contents insurance policy. Over one third (35%) of 18-24-year-olds admit to not knowing who is responsible for taking out their contents insurance policy and over one in ten (11%) of those questioned, admitted to not reading their contract thoroughly.
Commenting on the research, Chris King, Head of Home Insurance, at comparethemarket.com said: “As Britain’s rental market continues to grow, these levels of underinsurance are concerning. Contents insurance policies can offer comprehensive cover and reassurance for tenants should they fall victim to crimes such as burglary, protecting their valuables in a time of need. Gadget insurance may well seem like a cheaper alternative. However, this is often not the case. You might have to pay around £80 solely to insure an iPhone, whereas an average comprehensive contents policy costs only £71. So it’s definitely worth considering contents insurance as it is likely to be kinder on your wallet and as effective when it comes to claiming.”
“It is particularly worrying to see that younger people are disproportionally underinsured, as generations y and z are the most likely to rent for prolonged periods of time before owning their own home. It is vital that renters take control by protecting their deposits and also with contents insurance, to protect their possessions. There are a range of competitive contents insurance policies available on the market. We encourage all renters to shop around and find the policy which best works for them.”