1m victims of landlord scams

13 September 2010

A young woman

Almost 1 million Britons have been the victim of a scam involving a private tenancy or landlord in the last three years, shocking new research by Shelter shows.

In our online YouGov survey of 2,234 adults, 2% (equivalent to 1 million people nationwide) said they had been the victim of underhand practices when privately renting. Worryingly, 4% of those surveyed knew someone else who had been a victim.

The survey is part of Shelter’s national investigation which aims to expose bad practice by landlords in the private rented sector. Find out more about the investigation

See the most popular scams and get advice on how to prevent them

The survey also found that a fifth (20%) of tenants and one in four landlords have not heard of the Tenancy deposit protection scheme, which was introduced by Government in April 2007. Our investigation shows withheld deposits are a major issue for tenants.

Shelter’s chief executive Campbell Robb said: ‘It is absolutely shocking to think that so many people have fallen victim to these kinds of scams.

‘With more and more people set to become private tenants in the future we believe this is a widespread problem that will create thousands more victims unless we urgently do something about it.

‘Not only is it vital that people who are renting watch out for these kinds of tricks, but the Government must also clamp down hard on rogue operators who are exploiting the system and taking advantage of people’.

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About the survey

1. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2234 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 10 - 12 August 2010. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

2. 2 per cent of people surveyed said they had fallen victim to a scam when privately renting. This equates to 946,000 (almost one million) people in Britain – 2009 estimates from the Office of National Statistics indicate that there are 47.3 million adults in Great Britain  (open Table 2 in the files available).

3. 4.5 per cent of people surveyed said they know someone who has fallen victim to a scam when privately renting. This equates to 2,120,000 adults (over two million) people in Britain – 2009 estimates from the Office of National Statistics indicate that there are 47.3 million adults in Great Britain  (open Table 2 in the files available). 

4. One in four landlords admitted they were not aware of the TDS (tenancy deposit scheme) in the BDRC Continental, Landlord Panel quarter 4 2009, base: 551 private landlords.