Tiny proportion of tenancies end in deposit dispute

Figures produced by one of the country’s three rental deposit schemes shows that only a tiny number of tenancies appear to end in deposit disputes.

The Deposit Protection Service recorded only 8,945 out of 1,105,619 tenancies - equivalent to 0.81 per cent - needing to use its’ adjudication service at the end of a tenancy. This compared to 1.02 per cent and 0.87 per cent for the other two providers, Mydeposits and TDS.

DPS says the most common reason for a dispute is alleged property damage, with cleaning and redecoration requirements close behind – though there are sometimes more bizarre claims, such as for removal of cockroaches and repairs to a garden after a tenant had dug up a dead dog.

At the end of the dispute process, the figures show that DPS returned 18.5 per cent of deposits in full to the landlord. Some 54.7 per cent of DPS’s disputed deposits were split between both landlord and tenant and 26.8 per cent were refunded in full to tenants.

“Landlords are as worried by bad tenants as tenants are by bad landlords and letting agents. As long as a claim is substantiated with conclusive evidence, tenants as well as landlords should be warned – they can’t expect to default on rent, cause damage to properties or fail to fulfill tenancy conditions and then look for a deposit pay out” warns DPS director Kevin Firth.

letmedirect recommends that every tenancy should be accompanied by a full written and photographic inventory.

Inventories benchmark the condition of the property at the outset of the tenancy, of which its contents are agreed by both parties.  This goes a long way to resolving disputes promptly at the end of a tenancy should there be any.

Should a deposit be disputed at the end of the tenancy, providing the Adjudicator with a comprehensive inventory, will allow them to conclude promptly who to award the deposit to in the case of damaged.

letmedirect also recommend that the landlord should keep a comprehensive rental account of all payments due, dates and amounts paid, with a running account balance.  This will help in the event of a dispute over rent arrears.

Tenants should make their rental payments via standing order or electronic banking as all transactions are recorded by your bank, which can be used a proof of payment.

A full list of inventory packages available to landlords at our services page.