Deposit disputes at highest ever level

The latest in the series of statistical briefings from the Tenancy Deposit Scheme has just been published, which focuses on the thorny issue of tenancy deposit disputes. It shows that at the end of March 2016 there have been almost 173,000 tenancy deposit disputes adjudicated in the 9 years since the legislation was first introduced (in England and Wales).

Indeed in 2015-16 alone the three deposit schemes operating in England and Wales resolved 28,100 disputes, the highest ever annual amount. This represents a total of 0.82% of all deposits protected at March 2016, a figure which has stayed at about that level for the last 6 years.

For the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, which remains the largest scheme in the UK in terms of the value of deposits protected, cleaning claims still represent the biggest reason for disputes, being mentioned in 57% of claims. Damage to fixtures and fittings features in 51% of claims, with redecoration at 32% and rent arrears in 19% of claims. Gardening disputes are mentioned in some 16% of tenancy deposit claims.

Steve Harriott, CEO at TDS said:

“Cleaning, damage and redecoration claims feature in many of our disputes and this highlights the need for a comprehensive inventory and check out report which enables landlords to show the condition and cleanliness of the property at the start the tenancy compared with it at the end.  Without these it will be very difficult for a landlord to prove their claim for a deduction from the deposit”.

In terms of who gets what in disputes, there are some differences between the three schemes. As all schemes operate very similar dispute resolution processes the differences tend to reflect the membership of the scheme. Almost all of the TDS claims are handled by professional letting agents, for example. In TDS tenants get back all of the disputed deposit in about 17.5% of disputes. Landlords win all of the money in 21% of the cases and in 61% of disputes there are payments allocated to both parties. Overall in TDS the average disputed deposit in 2015-16 was £863.40 with 45.5% being returned to tenants and 54.5% to the landlords and agents.

Read the statistcal breifing here.

27th September 2016

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