Friday, December 07, 2007

Consumers ’Open To Financial Risk’

Many of the Britons who are renting property could be putting themselves under financial pressure, a study has revealed.

According to new research by AA Legal Services, half of those renting a home do not have a written tenancy agreement from their landlord before moving into a property, despite this being a legal requirement. With a significant number of consumers are being priced out of the home-owning market, the company reported that a quarter of these people "being forced to rent". However, with more tenants revealed to be concerned about the size of their bedrooms rather than how they would be able to reclaim their deposit, it was suggested that many Britons could be leaving themselves open to unnecessary financial pressure upon signing a rent agreement.

Commenting on the figures, James Molloy, head of AA Legal Services, said: "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."

The study also revealed that more than half (55 per cent) of consumers do not take electricity, gas or water meter readings before moving into a property. As a result, the financial services firm claimed that this could lead to them facing "unexpected bills", which in turn may see them develop problems meeting other demands on their spending such as credit cards, overdrafts and tenant loans. In addition, a "shocking" 59 per cent of renters are unaware as to their notice period, a move AA suggested could leave people in "the lurch with unbudgeted months of rent to pay". Findings from the financial services firm also indicated that 55 per cent of respondents do not take the time to make sure that their rental payments are clearly set out and agreed upon, which may see them paying more money than they should each month.

Meanwhile, the financial services firm reported that just over one in five (22 per cent) claim that they have taken steps to ensure their finances will be able to cope with the demands that moving into a rented house or flat can bring. As a result, Mr Molloy advised those consumers who are concerned about a property they wish to rent to seek out advice from a solicitor or some other "reputable organisation".

Should people renting a home find that they are coming under surging financial pressure, for whatever reason, the taking out a personal loan could help them relieve such stress by merging numerous demands on spending into a single low-rate loan. Speaking earlier this month, Moneyfacts analyst Lisa Taylor reported that borrowers need to take the time to make sure that they are getting a competitive rate of interest on a personal loan, as a number of lenders have increased their rates over the last nine months. She stated that choosing the "wrong" loan could see consumers paying double the amount of interest then is necessary.


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