More than half - 53% - of tenants in this country do not understand their rights and new regulations brought in to help them, according to new research.
The study by online letting agent MakeUrMove found that as many as 85% of private renters were confused by the tenant fees ban and 64% of tenants do not understand the costs they have to pay for referencing checks.
Somewhat alarmingly, 41% claimed that they were losing money because they do not understand the deposit protection scheme, while almost a third – 32% - do not know their rights for getting their deposit back.
Alexandra Morris, managing director of MakeUrMove, commented: “While the government is adamant that certain legislations have been brought in to protect tenants, the reality is it’s leading to additional confusion among tenants, many of whom already don’t understand their current position.
“The fact that such a high percent of tenants still don’t understand the implications of the impending tenant fees ban, despite it potentially coming into effect within the next few months, is particularly worrying.”
Other aspects tenants said they were unsure of included who was responsible for looking after their home’s garden (56%), decorating their rented home (59%), undertaking minor replacements (45%) and even cleaning the property (40%).
Morris added: “As letting agents, we have a duty to educate both tenants and landlords about their rights and responsibilities, this is something made much more complex by ever-changing regulations.
“The impact of these new regulations and lack of understanding of tenant rights is also making life much harder for landlords, particularly the accidental and smaller landlords that make up a large proportion of the private rented sector. They regularly have to seek advice when they, and their tenants don’t understand requirements, and they are being forced to pass on their increased costs to tenants through rent rises.
“The UK is experiencing market failure in housing and because of a rush to try to fix it, with piecemeal and ill-thought-out policy changes rather than a whole of market strategy, tenants have been left confused and bearing the brunt of the impact. To truly give every tenant a good home, the private rental process needs simplifying and professionalising, so it works for everyone, and to ensure both tenants and landlords understand their roles and responsibilities.”