With almost 17,500 privately rented homes in Dundee, we want to find out how we can better support private renters in our city. Dundee City Council has partnered with Generation Rent, the national campaigning body for private renters.
You can find more about services available for private renters here.
Results of Dundee City Council and Generation Rent Private Tenant Survey
Survey finds that 84% of private renters were unaware that they could contact the council for advice and guidance about an issue relating to their home or tenancy, however, some 79 per cent have had issues with their privately rented homes.
Dundee City Council in partnership with Generation Rent, ran a survey between 8th May 2021 and 11th June 2021 to gather evidence on the experiences of tenants within the Private Rental Sector in Dundee. The survey received a total of 180 responses. For the first 5 weeks the survey was open for all private renters in Coldside ward, for the final week it was open to all private renters in Dundee.
This Autumn, Dundee City Council and Generation Rent will proceed with a programme of future engagement which will include online focus group discussions, using the findings from the survey as a basis for determining the best approach to ensuring that private tenants are aware of their rights and responsibilities.
Some of the key findings in the survey found that 51% of private renters have experienced mould and damp within their homes, 46% have experienced leaks or draughts and 39% have dealt with heating or hot water not working.
Among the 180 respondents, 72% respondents were unaware that the council may be able to help as well as supporting tenants to refer matters to the Housing Property Chamber (HPC) with certain problems relating to their landlord, letting agent or home. Some 84% of respondents were unaware that they could contact the council for advice and guidance about an issue in their home despite 79% stating that they’ve had issues in their home.
When asked what might stop the respondents from contacting the council, 28% of respondents stated that they did not know that the council could support them or how to contact the council. 17% feared being evicted by their landlord/letting agent if they did contact the council.
The survey found that there was low awareness of services available to private renters and where to find information. Some 75% of respondents to this survey have never heard of the Private Sector Housing Service, a further 73% have never visited the Dundee City council website to find out information about housing.
Elaine Zwirlein, Executive Director of Neighbourhood Services stated:
“In response to these findings, Dundee City Council will be considering options to increase engagement with private renters. We are working with Generation Rent to find out how we as a council can better communicate with private renters about their rights and how the council can make renters more aware of their rights, responsibilities and the services available to them.’
Relationship with landlords and letting agents
At the start of each tenancy, landlords and letting agents are required to provide private tenants with necessary documents about their tenancy. There are nine necessary documents, which include the Scottish Private Residential Tenancy Agreement (PRT), Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), safety certification and information about where their deposit is protected.
The survey found that only 5 respondents (3%) remember receiving all 9 necessary documents at the beginning of their tenancy. Only 16% remember receiving the ‘Private Residential Tenancy Statutory Terms Supporting Notes’ and 15% remember receiving the ‘Easy-read notes for the Scottish Government model tenancy agreement’.
22% of survey participants have signed up to be part of our programme of future engagement which will be held this autumn. If you are a private renter but did not have a chance to take part in the survey, you can still sign up for the focus group discussions. If you want to be involved in this exciting research project, sign up via this link.
This project is part of a larger nationwide project that has been launched by Generation Rent with funding from the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust. Generation Rent is partnering with 5 local authorities across the United Kingdom to develop best practice models around private renter engagement.