Only 1% of Tenants Dispute Landlords Keeping Deposits
Fewer than 1% of buy-to-let tenants have a dispute with their landlords over returning deposits. Only 0.85% of all tenancies ended in a dispute over the money, said data from The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS).
The TDS statistical briefing for 2018 also revealed that disagreements over handing over cash at the end of a tenancy have stayed around this low level for eight years.
The most common reason for a dust-up across all government-backed tenancy deposit protection schemes is cleaning - the cause of 54% of disputes and a topic that has headed the complaints list for six years.
The other issues that spark rows between landlords and tenants are damage (49%), decoration (31%), rent arrears (20%) and gardening (16%).
TDS also highlights that deposits for homes in England and Wales have increased by 26% since 2018, rising from £880 to £1,110.
“Despite the number of tenancy deposits protected increasing by over 300% in the last ten years, the rates of disputes have remained regularly below 1%,” says the TDS.
“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.”
The review also charts the growth of buy-to-let in England and Wales. In 2008, the value of protected deposits was £885 million - which has grown to £4.1 billion in 2018. At the same time, the number of privately rented homes has expanded from 2.12 million to 4.85 million in England and from 90,000 to 202,000 in Wales.
The three tenancy deposit protection schemes dealt with 31,865 adjudications in 2018, compared with 458 in 2008.
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Deposits and Tenancy Deposit Schemes
Many landlords take a deposit from tenants to hold for the duration of the tenancy. When the tenant moves out, this is returned to the tenant less any deductions permitted: typically for damage (above fair wear and tear), additional cleaning, and cover any outstanding rent. Note: deposits can only be withheld if stipulated what the deposit is being held against in the contract.