Almost 30,000 London tenants claim they have been a victim of lettings fraud, research claims.
A poll by The Urban Collective, which provides a rental search service, claims 7% of renters in the capital have been fooled by listings with fake photos.
This number is then applied to the 955,000 privately rented homes in London and divided by the national average number of renters per household, which is 2.3. This gives a figure of 29,065.
It is not clear if, how and why these tenants would have still moved into the properties if the pictures were different from the initial listing.
The research also found that 29.5% of renters have given up plans to ever buy a home and 51% believe the property ladder will be reserved for “the elite” in 15 years’ time.
Almost a fifth of respondents also said they felt that letting agents treated them like students, while 22% have put up with a property they are unhappy with as they can’t bear the hassle of moving.
Mayank Mathur, co-founder of The Urban Collective, said: “Fifteen years ago, renting was a stop-gap until people could save enough to buy.
“Today, owning a home is a long-term goal and in 15 years’ time it might just be an impossible dream. If we’re going to become a nation of ‘forever renters’, then clearly the experience has to improve.
“No wonder the thought of renting forever makes Brits so unhappy.
“To date the rental market has been lagging behind the customer service found in other industries and geared towards serving landlords, not the tenants. Having personally experienced this ourselves, we’re trying to prioritise tenants for the first time and revolutionise the rental experience, bringing it into the 21st century.”