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“Crippling” delays in returning deposits slammed by trade group

The typical delay in tenants receiving their returned deposits is “crippling” for many.

That’s the view of the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks, which cites government figures saying the average time  to return deposits is between 29 and 37 days regardless of whether the money is due back to the landlord or tenant. 

The AIIC says such long delays continue despite the various tenancy reforms that have been designed to protect tenants and their funds. 


Danny Zane, chair for The AIIC and MD of My Property Inventories, says: “We strongly believe that aside from the many benefits of a solid, unbiased and third party report, making sure an inventory report is in place at the start and then the finish of the tenancy will dramatically reduce deposit return times”.

He claims it makes it so much tougher for a tenant to be able to move whilst having to raise the funds for a further deposit required for the new tenancy.

“Deposit return times being as long as 37 days for a tenant to get their money back is crippling for many. This makes life very difficult for many millions of tenants and their families in a day and age where we are set on improving life for tenants” says Zane.

“We can really work these times down to reasonable periods with the use of mandatory unbiased inventory reporting at both ends of the tenancy agreement. These provide the solid written and photographic evidence that leave no room for dispute over deposit deductions or full deposit refunds”.

  • Anthony Stevens

    The tenant would have already moved by the time a dispute would have been raised so the delay has no influence on their ability to raise a deposit for the next tenancy.

  • jeremy clarke

    This isn't news, it's an advert for which most publications would charge!

  • Kristjan Byfield

    One of the things we are trying to do with The Depositary is to try and help drive these times down wherever we can. During testing, we have been using this in our agency for the last year and have now processed around 150 tenancies through it- from our dashboard we can see that our average time to return a deposit from the day of Check-Out is 20 days. We have just chosen a new inventory provider who will deliver the reports within 24 hours taking, on average, 4 days off this process which should therefore see us reduce to around 16 days. Once we start onbaording agents there are other tweaks and improvements we will roll out as we endeavour to get this under 14 days. Importantly for agents, as you can see exactly who has done what & when- if you have a tenant stressing about the time taken but you can see that each time they are required to do something it takes them 2-3 days to action it, then this can be explained- and they can see all the evidence for themselves in the platform.

  • Paul Smithson

    I release the deposit when the tenant produce that the utilities have been paid.

    • 26 October 2019 06:21 AM

    Interesting..I don't care whether the utilities have been paid.
    Not my problem.
    Is in the tenant name so down to them.
    I've had tenants owe thousands.
    Not my problem.
    Up to the utility companies to civilly recover which they never do..
    The only good thing now is that utility payment history is on credit files.
    So not paying bills leaves a big black nark which lasts for 6 years on credit files.
    That might concentrate the minds of miscreant tenants.
    LL will be looking for unblemished credit file records from tenants.
    Unless a tenant provide all 3 credit files to be I won't even consider them.
    The days of tenants playing fast and loose I believe are coming to an end.
    Only about 20 years late!
    LL want tenants who qualify for RGI.
    One missed mobile bill and no tenancy!

    S l
    • S l
    • 26 October 2019 07:36 AM

    Actually PB, it will soon become landlord's problem when the new law passed with regards to water bills if landlord do not provide wessex water with forwarding address for tenants, which tenants often withheld.

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    • 26 October 2019 09:50 AM

    I don't believe any utility can make a LL civilly liable for a tenants debts because the LL doesn't have a forwarding address.
    If so then just make any old address up!!!
    Will LL be liable for tenant credit card debts soon!!
    This LL game is starting to become rather unreal
    The more stuff comes along the more I am certain I'm doing the right thing getting out of the letting on AST game.

    The world is going ever so slightly mad!


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