Good news for landlords as fewer than 1% of tenancies ended in a deposit dispute last year

Fewer than one per cent of tenancies ended in a dispute about the deposit last year, according to new figures.

This is welcome news for landlords as it means they don’t have to spend their time – and ultimately money – on trying to get the cost of any damage or repairs covered.

A total of 31,865 out of the 3.7 million tenancy deposits held ended in a dispute in the year to March 2018. The figures were published by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), one of three government-backed protection schemes that the research took into account.

The biggest issue in deposit disputes

Cleaning was the most common cause of disagreements for the sixth year running, and it was cited in 54 per cent of all disputes adjudicated by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.

This was closely followed by a number of other issues:

  • damage – 49 per cent
  • decoration – 31 per cent
  • rent arrears – 20 per cent
  • gardening – 16 per cent

What’s the average deposit size?

The research also examined the average size of a deposit for renting a property.

It found that there’s been a 26 per cent rise in the average deposit for England and Wales since 2010, climbing from £880 to £1,110. However, the research did not drill down into regional variations.

Majority of tenancies end in agreement

Steve Harriott, Chief Executive of the TDS, said: “As the private rented sector and the need for robust deposit protection continues to grow, as it has done over the last decade and more, it’s important to take stock of where we are and look for trends.

“Despite the number of tenancy deposits protected increasing by more than 300 per cent in the last 10 years, the rates of disputes have remained regularly below 1 per cent.

“That means the overwhelming majority of tenancies end in agreement between the tenant and the landlord or letting agent about how the deposit is awarded.

“It’s unsurprising to see cleaning remain as the number one reason for disputes due to its subjectivity – what might seem clean to one party could be viewed differently by another.”

A rise in private rented properties and protected deposits

It comes at a time when the number of private rented homes has risen in England from 2.13 million in 2001 to 4.85 million in 2016, while in Wales the numbers are 90,000 and 202,000 respectively.

The research claimed that there’s also been an increase in protected tenancy deposits, with 924,181 protected in March 2008 to 3,748,725 protected a decade later in March 2018.

Do you have experience of dealing with end-of-tenancy disputes? Share your stories in the comments below.

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