1 in 4 admit they wouldn't own up to landlord about damage

Warren Lewis
17th April 2017
red wine spill

A new survey commisioned by, has revealed that while the majority of Brits are honest tenants, over 1 in 4 people wouldn’t tell their landlord if they did significant damage to their rental property.

According to the survey, while 15% of people would secretly hire a professional to repair the damage, more than 1 in 10 (11%) have enough faith in their DIY skills to attempt to repair the damage themselves – with the landlord none the wiser.

Question Asked:

Please imagine you live in a privately rented property… Which ONE, if any, of the following best describes what you would do if you caused significant damage to a fixture within the property?

NOTE: By “significant damage” we mean damage to permanent fixtures in the property (e.g. breaking a window, shower or bathroom fixture, etc.)

Fresh YouGov survey results from property marketplace,, have shed light on how Brits handle themselves when they have inflicted significant damage to their rental properties. While a sizable 58% of respondents claimed they would report the damage to the landlord, more than 1 in 4 (27%) people said they would not tell their landlord.

Of the 27% who would not tell their landlord, broken down – 11% would attempt to repair the damage themselves, 15% would hire a professional for the repair work, and just 1% would try to hide the damage and hope it wouldn’t be discovered at the end of the tenancy.
Of the honest respondents who would own up to the damages – 24% would offer to pay the full repair bill, 7% would offer a contribution to the repair bill, and 27% would wait and see if they needed to pay anything.

When it comes to the gender divide, men were clearly more confident in their DIY skills, with 13% opting to repair the damage themselves, compared to 9% of women. Women, on the other hand, were more likely to tell the landlord and offer to pay the full repair bill, with 26% compared to 21% of men.

One Third of Private Renters Wouldn’t Report Damages

In total, one third of private renters said they would not tell their landlord about significant damage to a property – with 15% attempting a DIY fix (well above the 11% average for all respondents), 17% hiring a professional to repair the damage, and just 2% attempting to hide the damage.

In comparison, tenants renting from Local Authorities were less likely to try and avoid telling their landlord about damages, with 25% saying they would not report it compared to 33% of private renters and 36% of Housing Association tenants.

Nick Marr, Co-founder of property marketplace,, comments on the results: “While the vast majority of tenants will not actively try to do damage to a property, accidents do happen, and even well-meaning and reliable tenants can end up inflicting significant damage during their tenancy.”

The best advice I could give to landlords would be to encourage an open and honest relationship with their tenants, so that tenants don’t feel scared or nervous about reporting any damages as soon as they happen. Having a direct relationship with your tenants, as opposed to using a third party agent or management service, can be a great way to build trust and avoid any nasty surprises further down the line.

However, it is important to remember that landlords should always conduct thorough checks and references on any potential tenants before they move into the property. That way you can hopefully avoid the nightmare tenant horror stories that so many landlords can recall in an instant.”

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