The survey details feedback from more than 5,000 private landlords in response to questions about the UK private rental market as a host of new legislation comes into force.Key findings include:
- Only 10% of landlords provide the correct information to tenants at the start of a lease
- The majority (90%) of landlords are unable to identify the characteristics of a House in Multiple Occupancy (HMO)
- 16% are putting themselves at serious financial risk by failing to provide a valid contact address on tenancy agreements; an action that could see contracts being deemed as null and void
- Half (50%) of UK landlords are not prepared for the forthcoming Right to Rent legislation, with 20% believing they have until April 2017 to get ready.
One reason to explain the lack of industry knowledge could be due to the rise in accidental landlords who rent property due to circumstance, such as having inherited property. Rightmove’s consumer rental forecast*, for instance, found that 30% of UK landlords are now accidental landlords and this naturally means that many are inexperienced and lack the right market knowledge.
Urban.co.uk are calling any landlords lacking vital knowledge to seek advice to avoid serious financial penalties.
Adam Male, Co-Founder, Urban.co.uk comments on the findings:“The report clearly shows that UK landlords are struggling to keep on top of the influx of new legislation that is influencing the private rental market, such as Right to Rent and anticipated Stamp Duty rises. Despite knowing many of the basic rental requirements there is much confusion about where key responsibilities lie."
“At Urban.co.uk, we have a duty of care to ensure all landlords know their responsibilities and that new legislation is communicated clearly to protect landlords and the tenants who rely on the rental market. Our report identifies areas where many landlords need extra support and information and we urge those who are unsure about new legislation to check they have everything in order.”
It’s not all bad
Despite a lack of understanding in new areas of responsibility, the majority of landlords are ticking many of the ‘essential’ boxes. For instance, 77% were aware of the need for an up-to-date Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and 95% of landlords correctly identified their gas safety responsibilities. 80% also knew the need for a smoke alarm on every floor and 11% even put one in every room!
Knowledge by region
The Landlord Knowledge League Table – a map that ranks the most knowledgeable regions in the UK according to the survey results – found that the most clued-up landlords rented property in Southampton, while those in Newcastle-under-Lyme were the least aware of key responsibilities.
Male adds:“It’s great to see that knowledge about gas safety and smoke alarms is widely understood, however, there is still a long way to go in educating landlords about the many aspects of renting a property.
“New regulations, such as the Right to Rent, have the potential to stop ‘back door’ lettings and create a better environment for all, however, this will only happen if the scheme is communicated to landlords properly. Urban.co.uk want to do our bit to help landlords protect themselves and ensure they are up-to-date with everything they need to know, ensuring the safe, smooth and hassle free lease of property. ”
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