Landlords and tenants lack awareness of the law

New research has revealed that a large number of UK tenants are unaware that their landlord should lodge their deposit with the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme.

According to a survey conducted by property researchers, Leaders, 12 per cent of tenants are unaware of the importance of the scheme.

Worse still, a further six per cent of tenants quizzed told Leader that they had never even heard of the scheme.

Ms Carole Charge, compliance and technical director at Leaders, said: “Legislation in the lettings market is designed to protect both landlords and tenants, so it is important all parties are fully aware of the many and varied regulations relating to the industry.”

She warned that a failure to implement and fulfil the correct legislation on both sides of a tenancy agreement can all too easily lead to landlord-tenant disputes.

“Tenants should be aware that the only way to ensure their rights are being protected is to let through and experienced letting agent who is a member of a professional body such as the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) and holds Client Money Protection,” she said.

Ms Charge said that landlords must be able to “guarantee they have complied with the law at every stage”.

She cited a separate survey carried out by insurance provider Direct Line, which found that 58 per cent of landlords were relying on hurriedly updated – and potentially unlawful – tenancy agreements.

The same study found that 20 per cent of landlords were getting their tenants to sign ‘makeshift’ or ‘template’ documents they had found on the internet.

“There are currently 143 pieces of legislation in the UK that relate to letting a property. Landlords must judge whether they are able to personally ensure they and their properties comply with each one,” Ms Charge said.

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Nigel is the Managing Partner and Head of Litigation and Dispute Resolution in the London office of Mackrell Turner Garrett.