The latest Statistical Briefing from The Dispute Service (TDS) reveals that the number of deposits protected in the UK is increasing.

In the industry-renowned report published every year, TDS gathers and compiles data from a variety of factual sources, such as Freedom of Information (FOI) and internal statistics, including the length of tenancy, average tenancy deposits, leading disputes, and more.

This report provides an inside look at the TDS Tenancy Deposit Schemes in England, Wales and NI, as well as  SafeDeposits Scotland’s statistics, and includes valuable insight about the PRS across the UK.

Deposits protected on the increase across the UK

The data published in the latest Statistical Briefing by TDS shows that the number of deposits in England totalled 4,459,602, up by 5.12% from the previous year. 

In Scotland, the March 2022 data shows 235,117 deposits protected. This figure is up by 6.1% from the previous year. In Northern Ireland deposits numbers at the end of March were 67,197, a 5.15% increase over 2021.

Steve Harriott, CEO at TDS commented;

‘This data shows the bounce back in the lettings market that happened from the spring of 2021 as we came out of lockdown. However, towards the end of the financial year the market tightened, so it will be interesting to see the data at the end of September 2022 to see if there has been a reversal of the upward trends. With around a 5% increase in the numbers of deposits protected it shows the enduring attractiveness of a cash deposit to landlords.’

Deposits increasing in value in some parts of the UK

The report, written by the Dispute Service Chief Executive Steve Harriott, reveals further insights into the broader PRS. It shows a varied picture of deposit value changes over the last year.

In Scotland, the average deposit value was £748.75, an increase of 2% over the previous year.

In Northern Ireland, deposits increased by just over 4% to £641.29.

However, in England and Wales there was a different picture. The average deposit at the end of March 2022 being £1,016, a reduction of almost 1% from March 2021.

Steve Harriott, CEO at TDS commented:

‘The reduction in the value of tenancy deposits in 2021-22 in England and Wales is surprising given the increases in Scotland and Northern Ireland. It is likely however, that this is a result of the deposit cap, which restricts rents to a maximum of 5 weeks in England [and the cap does not apply elsewhere in the UK].

We have all seen evidence of increasing rents and therefore deposits in the period after Christmas, so it’s likely that the figures at the end of March 2023 will show a more significant increase in deposit values in England and Wales’.

Which UK country has the most tenancy deposit disputes?

Further insight from the report reveals the number of adjudications across the UK has increased. 

In 2021-22 the three tenancy deposit schemes in England and Wales issued 31,276 adjudications representing an increase of 1,579 from the previous year.

In 2019-2020 the schemes dealt with 34,993 disputes. The drop in disputes is linked to the impact of Covid, with fewer tenancies ending during the Covid lockdown period.

In Scotland, a similar picture emerges with 6,678 disputes in 2019-20, but this dropped to 5,012 in the year ending in March 2021 as Covid hit.

In Northern Ireland there were 488 disputes to March 2022, compared to 568 in March 2020, showing a similar downturn as a result of Covid.

Reasons for deposit disputes in 2022

The main reasons for deposit disputes are remarkably consistent across the UK, with the number one reason continuing to be cleaning. 

The TDS data shows the following patterns for 2021-22 for its schemes [TDS England & Wales, SafeDeposits Scotland and TDS Northern Ireland]:

Latest statistics from TDS

Steve Harriott, CEO at TDS said:

‘We have known for many years that cleaning and damage are the main claims made in tenancy deposit disputes. These figures show a remarkable consistency across the UK and over time, with the only oddity being that a massive 71% of disputes in Scotland involve cleaning claims.   It all points to the importance of landlords/agents having good check in inventory reports and check out reports, as these will provide clear evidence to support any cleaning or damage claims. For rent arrears disputes, we need to see the rent account statements to confirm that rent is owing’.

A must-read for property professionals

The report provides interesting reading for property professionals, landlords, and letting agents.

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