The private rented sector is becoming an increasingly important market for consumers. It provides a home to 4.7million UK households, and an investment for more than 1.2million consumer landlords who are letting as a part-time activity, for example to pay the mortgage or provide a pension. Letting agents play a critical role in managing consumer experiences of this process. 66% of all private tenancies involve an agent. From the landlord’s perspective they are responsible for managing a valuable investment, their property. From the tenant’s perspective they can determine how comfortable and secure they feel in their home. This makes choosing the right agent an important consumer decision. It is particularly important given the levels of poor practice in the market. The Property Ombudsman found that complaints were up by a quarter this year compared to last. Which? conducted research between May and October of this year to see how tenants and landlords make this decision. We wanted to listen to the experiences of the typical consumer landlord and tenant, and to understand how problems in the market impact on both sides.
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