Half of renters put down money before they see tenancy agreement
A game of rental roulette is being forced on tenants, who are often only shown their tenancy agreements after they have stumped up a deposit or holding fee.
More than half of renters (51%) were only shown their tenancy agreement after they’d put down money on the property, according to Citizens Advice.
The charity also found that more than one-in-three tenants (35%) were only told about additional fees that could be charged during their tenancy after putting down money.
This highlights how tenants can be easily trapped into unfair contracts by agents and landlords, and then face hefty penalties when terms are breached.
Lack of confidence
Almost one in three renters (29%) would not feel confident negotiating terms and conditions of their tenancy agreement with their landlord.
Close to one in four tenants (23%) have received a tenancy contract they felt contained unfair terms, but more than half (57%) of them signed the contract anyway.
And one in three renters signed a tenancy agreement with their landlord or letting agent without fully understanding it.
Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “In no other consumer market would people be asked to put down hundreds, or even thousands, of pounds before seeing the small print.
“Unscrupulous landlords and letting agents can take advantage of tenants, who lack real bargaining power in the private rented sector.
“Entering into a rental agreement is such a critical decision, especially for families trying to put down roots.
“Tenants shouldn’t be forced into a game of rental roulette, where they are putting down money on a contract they’ve not seen.
“For the Tenant Fees Bill to truly stamp out unfair fees as intended, the government must close the ‘default fees’ loophole.”