Understanding the Legal Problems of Renters
Photo derived from Warner Flats by Nico Hogg and used under CC

December 9, 2015: Pascoe Pleasence, Nigel Balmer, Catrina Denvir

Study shows that people living in rented accommodation are twice as likely to experience some kinds of non-housing-related legal problems as those living in other types of housing.

The Legal Education Foundation has funded a study comparing the legal difficulties experienced by people living in rented accommodation with those who live in their own homes or rent free.

Key Findings include:

  • The latest figures show that over a third of all households in England and Wales were rented, which makes the ability of renters to resolve housing-related legal problems a major issue for society.
  • Few renters realised that their housing difficulty was a legal problem, nearly half (47 per cent) put it down to bad luck.
  • The renters most likely to experience housing-related legal problems are the young, single parents, and unmarried couples with children.
  • Legal problems with rented housing take a long time to resolve: half lasted more than a year; a quarter were still unresolved after two years.
  • Renters are more likely than those living in other types of accommodation to have higher levels of non-housing-related legal problems – such as with domestic violence, divorce, welfare benefits and personal injury.
  • Those renting privately (rather than in the public sector) were the most likely to have non-housing-related legal problems; the least likely were those who owned their homes outright.

These findings are drawn from a larger study funded by the Foundation entitled ‘How People Understand and Interact with the Law’. ‘How People Understand and Interact with the Law’ reports on the findings of a national survey that explored public understanding of the law across a range of civil law problems. Both the full report and a summary Research Insights document are available to download here.

To download the Research Insights and Research report for ‘The Legal Problems of Renters’ please use the buttons below.

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