What Are the Reasons Behind the Most Common Deposit Disputes?
The number of tenancy deposit disputes between landlords and tenants in England has dropped by 15% so far during 2020, according to one of the government’s authorised deposit schemes. Deposit replacement firm Ome analysed data and found that complaints lodged with mydeposits plummeted in London, the South East and the North East in particular, with most other regions also seeing a fall in deposit disputes. Only two regions witnessed rises compared with the same period in 2019 - the East Midlands and the South West.
However, even though London saw the biggest drop in tenant deposit disputes, it still accounts for more than a third of all disagreements in the country, 37% to be precise. The survey found that the average disputed amount remained unchanged at £811, but tenants received 2% less of that average and landlords 2% more than in 2019.
While the deposit disputes statistics are encouraging, there are still many such disagreements occurring, so what are the reasons behind the most common disputes? Most landlords and letting agents could surely guess the top answer straight away!
The Most Common Rental Deposit Dispute
The most common rental deposit dispute revolves around cleaning of the property. Post-tenancy cleaning made up 26% of all fallouts between landlords and tenants when it comes to paying back the security deposit.
Essentially, the property must be left in as good or better condition at the end of the tenancy than it was at the beginning. If a landlord feels that the tenant has failed to achieve this goal, they may have a legitimate claim with the deposit scheme through which they keep the tenant’s security. It is then up to both parties to back up their argument with evidence before the deposit scheme makes a decision.
Rental deposit dispute Issues often revolve around proving what state the property was in before the tenancy began, as well as with the charges levied for the tasks undertaken by professional cleaners to right the perceived wrong.
Other Tenancy Deposit Dispute Examples
Other tenancy deposit dispute examples include damage to the property caused by the tenant. This accounted for 20% of all tenancy deposit disputes in England during the first half of 2020.
Another reason why a landlord might attempt to withhold some or all of the security deposit is if the tenant leaves objects in the property that incur expensive removal costs. This could be anything from sofas to fridges, and any other item that needs professionals to come and take it away before new tenants can move in. Another tenancy deposit dispute example could be if the tenant leaves while still owing rent. There could even be a claim for pet-related issues such as flea infestations caused by a tenant’s dog or cat.
Why Are Tenancy Deposit Dispute Numbers Going Down?
Analysts have looked into the reasons why tenancy deposit dispute numbers are going down, and many speculate that the coronavirus lockdown has had something to do with it. There were very few tenancies ending during the most restrictive period of the pandemic, meaning there was simply less opportunity for a tenancy deposit dispute to occur.
However, there may well have been a number of disputes likely to be heard during that period will have been lodged before Covid-19 hit and, with no suspension on cases as there has been with evictions, there is reason to be cautiously optimistic that the numbers are a genuine reflection of improving landlord/tenant relationships. The latter half of 2020 could bring more answers as to whether that is the case.
Tenancy Deposit Dispute Advice for Landlords and Letting Agents
It is a good idea to read up on tenancy deposit dispute advice before you make a claim against a tenant. The first thing most experts will tell you is that you must collect as much evidence as possible. Having a property professionally cleaned by a reputable firm before the tenancy is a good idea, and you should always keep the invoice for the job to prove it was spotless. You should also make a detailed note as to the state of the home as part of the inventory, and get the tenant to sign to show they agree with your assessment.
If you do find yourself having to bring a professional in to clean, repair damage or eradicate an infestation, ask them to provide a report in writing that proves, in their opinion, why you needed to enlist their services. This will all help in settling a tenancy deposit dispute.
For help with handling check-in and check-out, as well as maintenance. deposit admin and many other tasks, talk to us today about our outsourced property management service