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Poor communication still chief cause of check-out disputes

Poor communication remains the chief reason for disputes between agents, landlords and tenants at check-out time according to the latest research.

A study by deposit alternative scheme Ome, analysing disputes submitted by tenants to the mydeposits deposit protection scheme, shows that the number of escalated disputes reaching the adjudication stage has fallen in percentage terms. 

It was down 2.6 per cent last year. 


But an analysis of the reasons show that in 30 per cent of the cases, the disputes were as a direct result of tenants not receiving any communication or explanation as to why they were not getting their deposit money back.  

Disagreements over the perceived cleanliness of the property upon check out was the second most common cause for a dispute in 23 per cent of cases, while damage to the property ranked third with 18 per cent.

Other reasons for disputes included general redecoration, missing or replaced items and outstanding rent arrears or bills.

Last year, there were 9,323 disputes raised with mydeposits. However, just 5,792 (62.1 per cent) progressed as far as the adjudication stage, down from 64.7 per cent the previous year and 66.4 per cent the year prior to that. 

Ome suggests that the decline in the percentage of disputes reaching adjudication is likely as a result of the drive towards early resolution and negotiation, showing that when landlords and tenants do communicate issues can be resolved amicably.

The service’s co-founder, Matthew Hooker, says: “The return of a deposit can often be a cause for an otherwise fantastic tenant-landlord relationship to sour and the stats show that the leading reason for this is poor or lack of communication.  We'll also be pushing improved transparency and communication by pioneering the mandatory check in/check out reports.”

Poll: Do you agree - poor communication lies behind many deposit disputes?



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