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Kate Faulkner believes that the private rented sector (PRS) has to band together to ensure tenants and landlords are fully aware of their rights and responsibilities.
Kate, who runs Propertychecklists.com and consultancy, Designs on Property, called for cohesion between sections of the industry in a report commissioned by the TDS Charitable Foundation; Motivating landlords and tenants on their rights and responsibilities.
The report echoes the fundamental values underpinning the TDS Charitable Foundation’s goals – that education is key to improving standards in the private rented sector.
With funding from the Foundation, the report found that the majority of landlords are well-intentioned although gaps in knowledge can lead to confusion over legal obligations and best practice. Kate also states that while tenants are better at understanding their rights, there is still trepidation about reporting issues to landlords.
Kate said: “Over the last 10 years, the PRS has seen an influx of ‘accidental landlords’ who don’t let professionally, but as a side-line either to supplement their main income or because they couldn’t sell their home during the credit crunch. These landlords may not be the stereotypical rogues featured in the mainstream media, however, a lack of knowledge of the extensive legal responsibilities and knowledge can put tenants at risk.
“In fact, almost one in five (18.2%) landlords said they find it impossible to keep up with regulation changes. It can be confusing for landlords who have to navigate national, regional and local legislation.
“Landlords are not the only party who can be at fault for not understanding their rights and responsibilities. In a survey we conducted to inform this report, we found that some tenant respondents were not aware that if they fail to report maintenance issues, they could be liable for the escalated costs of rectifying the damage.
“There are reports from organisations like Which? and Shelter that vary in their estimations in levels of issues like damp in the private rented sector. Although we can’t tell how common these issues are, it seems clear to me that these issues still exist in the sector partially because not all tenants and landlords are aware of their rights and responsibilities.
“To combat the knowledge deficit and raise standards across the sector, we need to take a more cooperative and cohesive approach to educating everyone in the PRS. The government, tenants and landlord organisations all need to pull in the same direction to make renting more straightforward and safer for everyone involved.”
The TDS Charitable Foundation awards funding to organisations that meet the Foundation’s aims of promoting knowledge of landlords’ obligations and tenants’ rights & responsibilities. In 2017/18 it awarded over £135,000 to 13 different organisations.
Since it was founded in 2014, the TDS Charitable Foundation has awarded over £460,000 to organisations across England, Wales and Northern Ir.
The Foundation is funded mainly by donations from The Dispute Service (TDS), the leading Tenancy Deposit Scheme which operates on a not-for-profit basis across the UK.
While the TDS Charitable Foundation funds the reports, Kate retains editorial control and the opinions expressed in the report do not necessarily reflect the views of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) or the TDS Charitable Foundation.
Kate’s latest report Motivating landlords and tenants on their rights and responsibilities is now available to download as a PDF.
To read other reports in this series, please visit: http://tdsfoundation.org.uk/programmes.
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