Over 1.5 Million UK Renters are at Risk of Losing Deposits

Over 1.5 million renters across the UK could be at risk of losing their
deposits after new research from comparethemarket.com
reveals that one third (33%) of renters know that their landlord has not placed
their money into a Government-backed deposit protection scheme (DPS). Despite
the legal obligation which requires landlords to put deposits into schemes such
as the DPS, polling also shows that a further third (35%) of renters do not
know the whereabouts of their down payment. 

For some landlords, the misdemeanours go beyond a lack of deposit
management. One fifth (19%) of tenants claim that they do not have a contract
with their landlord, leaving a significant minority of renters, and landlords,
in a risky position should any serious legal issues arise. Research also
reveals that it has become commonplace for landlords to deduct money from
tenants’ deposits, as almost one fifth (18%) claim to have had money taken from
their deposit when leaving a property.

Research suggests that some landlords can be slow to respond to renter
requests, with almost one third (30%) reporting that they need to chase their
landlord when a problem requires fixing. A further one in ten (12%) claim that
they have to make repeated efforts before receiving a response. Almost one in
ten (9%) tenants say that it can take between a fortnight and a month for an
issue at their property to be resolved. However, in these cases the landlord is
not always at fault, as barriers to access could account for some of these
problems, as over one in ten (14%) renters must go through their letting agency
in order to contact their landlord.

Nonetheless, disengagement with responsibilities seems to affect both
landlords and tenants, as research reveals renters to be a worryingly
underinsured demographic. Over one third (36%) do not have contents insurance
policies in place which offer protection against burglaries theft and damage

Younger people are the least likely to take out any insurance, with almost
half (46%) of 18-34 year olds failing to take out a contents insurance policy.
Over one third (35%) of 18-24 year olds admit to not knowing who is responsible
for taking out their contents insurance policy and over one in ten (11%) of
those questioned, admitted to not reading their contract thoroughly.

Commenting on the research, Chris King, Head of Home Insurance, at comparethemarket.com
“As Britain’s rental market continues to grow, these
levels of underinsurance are concerning. Contents insurance policies can offer
comprehensive cover and reassurance for tenants should they fall victim to
crimes such as burglary, protecting their valuables in a time of need. Gadget
insurance may well seem like a cheaper alternative. However, this is often not
the case. You might have to pay around £80 solely to insure an iPhone, whereas
an average comprehensive contents policy costs only £71. So it’s definitely worth
considering contents insurance as it is likely to be kinder on your wallet and
as effective when it comes to claiming.

“It is particularly worrying to see that younger people are disproportionally under insured, as generations y and z are the most likely to rent for prolonged periods of time before owning their own home. It is vital that renters take control by protecting their deposits and also with contents insurance, to protect their possessions. There are a range of competitive contents insurance policies available on the market. We encourage all renters to shop around and find the policy which best works for them.”