Good news - under 1% of tenancies end with deposit disputes

22nd Nov 2018

Fewer than one per cent of private tenancies end in a dispute over the deposit - and the figure is this low for the eighth successive year.

Contrary to some media perceptions of frequent disputes over deposits, data from the Tenancy Deposit Scheme suggests that such arguments are rare.

Published every year, TDS’s Statistical Briefings pull together information from a variety of sources including Freedom of Information data and statistics gathered directly by the not-for-profit organisation.

The latest briefing released shows a very low level of disputes across all three government-backed deposit protection schemes. 

Of the 3.7 million tenancy deposits currently held, only 31,865 ended in disputes in the year to March 2018.

For the sixth year running, cleaning is the most common contributing factor to tenancy deposit disputes and was cited in 54 per cent of all disputes adjudicated by TDS in 2017/18. 

It was closely followed by damage (49 per cent), decoration (31 per cent), rent arrears (20 per cent) and gardening (16 per cent).

The report, by TDS chief executive Steve Harriott, also reveals that since 2010 there has been a 26 per cent rise in the average deposit value for England and Wales - from £880 to £1,110 - although this does not take into account regional variations.

Harriott says: “Despite the number of tenancy deposits protected increasing by over 300 per cent in the last 10 years, the rates of disputes have remained regularly below one per cent. 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.”

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