Property prices have increased rapidly
By James Roberts

Confusion Reigns in US Private Rented Sector

Investors in the rental sector of the US property market are likely to come across confusion when it comes to dealing with tenants, a new survey has suggested. Despite a strong demand for rental homes in the US - more people rent than buy in the country still - many people are still unaware of the existing rental laws in the nation. And this is the case for both landlords and tenants, the report released this week by Zillow has suggested.

It said that the vast majority of both owners and prospective residents do not know enough about security deposits and the legal requirements of them. Some 82 per cent of tenants said this was the case for them, while 76 per cent of landlords felt the same way about security deposits, credit checks and background examinations that are normally carried out before any tenancy is agreed.

It was also discovered that as many as 77 per cent of tenants and 69 per cent of landlords do not fully understand access and privacy regulations with regards to when the landlord is allowed to visit the home and the notice they are required to give their tenant. In addition to this, some 62 per cent of tenants and 50 per cent of landlords are not up to speed with the rules surrounding the early termination of contracts.

Carey Armstrong, director of lettings with Zillow, said: "It's concerning that so many renters and landlords are signing a legal contract without fully understanding their basic rights. In doing so, landlords and renters could be setting themselves up for future disputes and legal costs. While rental laws vary by state and local jurisdiction, there are some important rules that affect just about everybody. Every landlord and tenant should take time to research and understand their rights."

The rental market in the US is an important part of the market, especially given the way that property prices have increased rapidly in the last 18 months in particular, leading to many developing fears about whether they will remain affordable for the average person to purchase.

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