LV= reveals reluctant landlords fuel surge in risky renting

From: LV=
Published: Tue Jan 13 2009

The findings of new research from LV= reveals a 56% rise* in properties available to rent over a three month period, with the vast majority (86%) coming from homeowners choosing to let their properties rather than sell in a depressed financial climate.

But home insurer LV= is warning that these reluctant landlords are putting themselves and their tenants at risk, with the findings showing that just 27%** have signed up to a compulsory tenancy deposit scheme (TDS) designed to protect tenants and landlords from disputes over the lease. This is despite it being a legal requirement for landlords to ensure deposits are protected by the Government approved scheme.

Introduced in April 2007, the TDP scheme was set up to prevent legal disputes over deposits at the end of a tenancy. All rental properties where a deposit has been taken since April 2007 are legally covered by the scheme.

The high numbers of landlords not signing up means thousands of tenants and landlords could run into trouble at the end of a tenancy. The findings show that 77% of renters have previously had some or all of their deposit money unreasonably withheld, while 13% of tenants have refused to pay rent towards the end of their contract.

With the research showing that 20%*** of tenancies end in dispute, LV= is warning tenants and landlords to take the correct precautions, and ensure they have legal protection cover included in their policy.

John O'Roarke, Managing Director of LV= Home Insurance, said: "This research highlights the numbers of new landlords entering the market, many of whom may not be aware of their legal obligations. It also illustrates the need for the Government to raise the profile of legislation such as the Tenancy Deposit Scheme and for these to be more strictly enforced, to protect both renters and landlords, as awareness is currently very low. Although the majority of private landlords are undoubtedly honest, our research shows that many tenants have experienced problems getting their deposit money back in the past, and are worried this could happen again.

"The average deposit is over £500, which is a significant amount of money, so renters and landlords need to make sure they know their rights. Renters should also always ensure they have home contents insurance in place, as they are more likely to be burgled than home owners and some polices will include a legal advice helpline, which could be used in the event of a contractual dispute."

About LV=
LV= is a registered trade mark of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited (LVFS) and a trading style of the Liverpool Victoria group of companies. The new LV= brand identity was launched in March 2007.

LV= employs over 3,500 people, serves more than 2.5 million customers and members, and manages around £8 billion on their behalf. LV= is also the UK's largest friendly society **** and a leading mutual financial services provider.

LVFS is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority register number 110035. LVFS is a member of the ABI, AMI, AFS and ILAG. Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF.

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Notes to Editors
All research unless otherwise stated was carried out on behalf of LV= by YouGov. A nationally representative sample of 1193 private renters were questioned online between 22nd to 25th July 2008. Results are weighted to be representative of the UK adult population. YouGov is a member of the British Polling Council.
* RCIS residential lettings survey October 2008
** 27% of renters say their landlord is not signed up to the scheme
*** 20% of tenants say the end of a tenancy led to a legal dispute with the landlord
**** Association of Friendly Societies Key Statistics 2008. Total net assets

For further media information contact:
Lucy Pope
Media Relations Manager
Press Office
County Gates
01202 502 204
Company: LV=
Contact Name: Lucy Pope
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: 01202 502 204

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