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New research finds majority of tenants may breach their tenancy

Date online: 18/09/2014

According to new research* conducted on behalf of mortgage and loans provider Ocean Finance, 94% of people who rent their home admit to acting in a way that may breach their tenancy agreement. 

The most common potential breach was the burning of candles, which more than half (58%) of respondents who rent admitted to doing. However, it’s unlikely burning a few candles now and again will have a lasting effect on the property, unlike the second-most popular possible breach – redecorating. 

One in two renters (54%) revealed they had redecorated their home.

Another potential breach that could put the tenant’s future in the property at risk was the decision to keep a pet. Half (50%) of all renters polled admitted they had kept an animal at their rented home.

Some of the rule breaks were small, such as using Blu-Tack on the walls (36%) – which can damage the wallpaper or plaster, or leave a mark – and over-filling the bins (22%), which may encourage rodents. However, these breaches were less likely to be made by tenants than some of the more serious rule breaks, like keeping a pet or redecorating.

Perhaps the most serious breach in many tenancy agreements is the sub-letting of rooms in a property. However, one in 20 (4.9%) respondents in rental properties revealed they had done this.

While not all tenancy agreements include all of these rules, many do. 

Perhaps the reason so many tenants have committed these acts is less a deliberate flouting of the agreement and more the case that they are unaware of the detail of the agreement they have signed. A quarter (23%) of people who rent admitted they did not fully read their tenancy agreement when they moved in and just half (57%) of respondents said that they did thoroughly read their agreement. A further one in five (20%) revealed they don’t have a tenancy agreement in place with their landlord or agent.

Ian Williams, spokesman for Ocean Finance, says: 

“Many standard tenancy agreements contain a lot of ‘niggly’ clauses about cutting the grass and emptying the bins. Whilst breaking these conditions might seem trivial, doing so could have serious consequences. Blu-Tack stains on the walls might be just the excuse the landlord needs to withhold some or all of their deposit, while keeping a pet or sub-letting rooms could result in being asked to leave the property.

To avoid this, it’s important tenants always read their tenancy agreements and ask their landlord about anything they’re not clear about.”

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