Why do tenants dispute their deposits?

Fri 10 Oct 2014

A huge number of factors can result in a landlord or letting agent having to withhold some or all of your deposit, so from day one of your tenancy you should be striving to avoid these.

Our latest figures, provided by The Dispute Service, show 50 deposit-related disputes were raised by tenants with Leaders branches in August. This means our dispute rate was just 0.16 per cent when calculated against the 31,228 tenancies protected with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme in the month.

Although the number of deposit disputes was extremely low, it can still pay to explore the reasons behind them.

The most common factor that led to a disagreement over the amount of a deposit that should be returned was inadequate cleaning, with this cited as the primary reason in 27.2 per cent of all disputes.

It goes without saying you should ensure your rented property is as clean at the end of your stay as it was on day one.

Named in 21.9 per cent of disputes, damage was the second most frequent reason for a deposit to be contended. Of course, accidents will happen and all you can do is minimise the risks, but when an incident occurs that results in damage you should act quickly to repair it.

After all, leaving a broken appliance, ripped upholstery, a stained floor or disfigured furniture means you are running the risk of the problem worsening and eventually costing more to resolve. Taking swift action also ensures such a matter will not crop up in your check-out and have an impact on your deposit return.

The third most frequent trigger for tenant deposits being disputed in August were reasons related to a property’s decoration, which was behind 10.81 per cent of instances, followed by rent arrears (10.32 per cent) and gardening (6.17 per cent).

As a tenant, it is always a good idea to consider the standard of your rented home and to do what can be reasonably expected of you to maintain it over time, as this is likely to work in your favour when it comes to the return of your deposit.

For more information on what to expect as a tenant, click here.