Tenants open to abuse

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An estimated one in two tenants is not getting a written tenancy agreement before moving into a new home, according to an AA legal services survey. Landlords are legally obliged to supply their tenants with a written tenancy agreement prior yet it seems many are simply ignoring the law. Those who do not have a written agreement are wide-open to being exploited. For example, in theory, the landlord could bring the tenancy to an end at any time of their choosing or hold onto deposit monies without giving a reason.

"These findings demonstrate how poorly people protect themselves when moving into a rented home. It is vital that you agree your tenancy agreement and check everything, including inventory and utility meter readings, before you accept the keys to your rented home. Yet thousands of people are just not doing so and are putting themselves and their home at risk," James Molloy, head of AA Legal Services says.

The AA survey also found that many tenants do not safeguard themselves against dodgy landlords and have little idea of their rights. For example, 59 per cent of tenants, when quizzed, did not know if they had a notice period, while two out of three did not check their inventory.