Article Posted -
10 Oct 2018

Citizen’s Advice today released findings from a survey that showed over half (51 percent) of renters were not given the opportunity to view their tenancy agreement prior to putting down money on the property.

The survey also found:

  • More than a third (35 percent) were told about additional fees after putting down the deposit
  • Nearly one in three (29 percent) wouldn’t feel confident negotiating terms and conditions of their tenancy agreement with their landlord
  • Over one in four tenants (23 percent) have received a tenancy contract they felt contained unfair terms, but almost 60 percent (57 percent) of them signed the contract anyway
  • A third of renters signed a tenancy agreement without fully understanding it. That increased to 44 percent of renters with mental health problems.

 

Chris Norris, Director of Policy and Practice at the National Landlords Association, says:

"It is in the interest of all parties to have an agreement that everyone is happy with and that is clear about default fees that may be charged during the tenancy. Tenants should feel comfortable questioning any clause in the agreement and should have the opportunity to ask a third party for advice.

"Default fees are necessary for landlords to recover any costs they incur on the tenant's behalf during a tenancy. Common sense should be applied to these fees, but it is unrealistic to expect that landlords would not seek to recover any costs which arise due to their tenant’s actions.

“Removing the default fee clause would push landlords either to seek to recover their costs elsewhere – through higher rents – or to become increasingly discerning about the tenants that they will let to, reducing accessibility of the private rented sector for those who need homes.”