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Graham Awards


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

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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    Find this article unbelievably inaccurate.

    Ran a very well respected, triple award winning agency for 13 years and there is no way the rate is below 1%

    Keen to hear it others feedback

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    Well i have been in business for nearly 19 years and have never had a deposit go the dispute.

  • S l
    • S l
    • 22 November 2018 12:09 PM

    you might find that dispute arise because rogue tenants mess up the place and cause damages and refused to acknowledge or pay for it despite the fact that inventory was done and evidence and quotes was given. the good ones tend to do as per t&c and no problems as they are honest and accept the evidence they had and were given.

  • S l
    • S l
    • 22 November 2018 12:10 PM

    base on that article of less than 1% dispute, again why are the politicians and shelter still kicking landlords down

  • David Porter

    Well we have good properties and on the whole good tenants, but I would estimate that at least 25% of our tenancies end in a dispute. We almost always win, though, because we have excellent evidence. Largely it's because tenants don't appreciate their responsibilities, and then don't want to listen when we try to explain to them what those responsibilities are.

  • S l
    • S l
    • 22 November 2018 14:17 PM

    well we have good properties and work with the LA to do it up to good standards. however, we dont get to choose who sign contract as we have letting agents to find tenants for us. hence we cant tell good from bad until they live in it. what we need is a rogue tenant register in every town to be accesible to landlords to help us avoid the problematic ones to protect ourselves as well as our properties


    Hi S1, would need to check, but my understanding is this is available in some areas. But it is def needed

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    The amount of monies unclaimed by tenants, dwarfs the amount that was being withheld unfairly prior to the introduction of the TDS.

    Another own goal by Shelter.

  • Homeppl Ltd

    Hi everyone, at Homeppl, we believe that the solution is even a simpler one, a very comprehensive tenant referencing check.

    We have done over +100,000 validations with zero default to date which makes us proud to play our part in this low dispute rate.

    All you need is to know exactly who you are letting to. Traditional background checks are simply not good enough for that!

  • S l
    • S l
    • 25 November 2018 10:00 AM

    referencing itself does not tell us if they are good tenants and wont damage properties. somehow tenants may pay the bank but not necessary the landlord and landlord do not tend to sue due to high court fees although i hope this will change. even a judgement not necessarily go into their credit check record as most of us dont know how. anyway, what good does it do when your tenant is from overseas and just take a flight home! and say you cant find me.


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