By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.
Graham Awards


Deposits - figures show remarkably few  agent-tenant disputes

The average private rental tenancy deposit last year exceeded £1,000 new figures show.

At an average of £1,005 per tenancy, the cost of a deposit fell by 1.2 per cent year from 2020 according to mydeposits.

But although tenancy deposit disputes also saw a year on year decline in volume during 2021, there was still an estimated £27m of deposits held in disputes.


While the vast majority of deductions are agreed between tenants and agents or landlords themselves, those that are disputed will be judged by an adjudicator based on the deposit use clause. 

This outlines, for example, if the deposit can be held to cover the cost of cleaning, missing items, outstanding rent or unpaid utilities. 

The latest figures show that over 4.5m tenancy deposits are protected across the UK rental market, up 2.3 per cent on the previous year alone. This means £4.6 billion is held in deposit protection schemes, again up 1.1 per cent on the previous year. 

The good news is that the number of challenges being made and the sum that is being challenged have both shown an annual decline. 

The average amount disputed fell slightly from £793 to £784 in 2021, while the total number of disputes also declined by 12 per cent to 34,444 last year. This means that the number of disputes as a percentage of all deposits held has dropped as well, down from 0.9 per cent to 0.8 per cent.

But despite such a small number of tenants disputing the deductions made to their tenancy deposit, mydeposits estimates that the total value of rental deposit disputes sat at almost £27m in 2021. 

Cleaning was by far the most contentious issue between agents or landlords and tenants when it comes to deposit disputes, with damages to the property, redecoration costs, gardening and rent arrears also ranking high. 

mydeposits chief executive Eddie Hooker says: “It’s only natural that a certain number of landlords and tenants won’t see eye to eye when it comes to rental deposit deductions. On the one hand, the deposit held is a considerable sum of money for the average tenant. 

“At the same time, landlords will understandably expect their property to be returned in the same condition as it was let and to be paid the rent owed in full. 

“The good news is that deposit deduction disputes are actually few and far between and account for less than one per cent of all deposits held within authorised protection schemes.

“We’ve also seen a reduction in total disputes lodged, which suggest the rental sector has become a more harmonious place over the last year, or that tenancies post-pandemic are increasing in length, resulting in less end of tenancy issues.”

  • Kristjan Byfield

    Interesting stats- only thing I'd add is that disputes Vs deposits doesn't give a clear picture- this should really be a stat against concluding deposits. Id wager around 1/3 of tenancies transition each year meaning a dispute figure closer to 2.5% which is what we see in The Depositary.


Please login to comment

MovePal MovePal MovePal
sign up