Private rental – the tenant’s story.

23/01/2014 By Mark Long

We’ve all read the private rental horror stories about rogue practices by landlords that bring the wider sector into disrepute.

BVA BDRC’s Tenant’s Panel interviewed more than 700 tenants from across the UK in all forms of accommodation. The results of this study have generated some interesting insights which help to counterpoint some of the more alarming stories we see from time to time.

Against a backdrop of increasing rents (a quarter of tenants have experienced a recent rise), six in ten believed that the rent they pay each month offered good or very good value for money; one in five, however, felt that wasn’t the case.

To the current debate around the need for extended tenancy agreements, more than one in three renters had already been in their current property for more than four years and 70% were happy with the length of their current tenancy agreement. Only 7% expressed any dissatisfaction with the duration, and fewer still had ever had a request for a tenancy extension refused by their landlord.

The majority (63%) of tenants had met their landlord at least once, and seven in ten reported that they were satisfied with the nature of the relationship that they have. However a tenth of renters surveyed felt that they had, at some point in the past, rented from what they would deem to be a ‘rogue’ landlord. Three-fifths reported in the survey that they would endorse the idea of a register of landlords where a current or potential landlord could be identified and verified.

In summary, three quarters considered their rental property to be their home, and most felt secure and in control of their accommodation. Only 5% felt that renting was in any way a barrier to family life.

Although no one would want to trivialise the impact of terrible treatment by landlords on their tenants, it is important that a proper perspective is maintained when thinking about the scope and scale of these issues.