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Tenancy disputes dip but one major problem dominates

There’s more evidence today that cleaning remains the largest cause of disputes between agents and tenants.

Data released by The Dispute Service in its latest Statistical Briefing for 2021-22 showed that for the three tenancy deposit schemes in England and Wales there were 31,276 adjudications in the past year, representing a decrease of 1,579 from the previous year.

In Scotland, a similar picture emerges with 6,678 disputes in 2019-20, but this dropped to 5,012 in the year ending in March 2021 as Covid hit.


In Northern Ireland there were 488 disputes to March 2022, compared to 568 in March 2020, showing a similar downturn as a result of Covid.

The main reasons for deposit disputes are remarkably consistent across the UK, with the number one reason being to do with cleaning.

The TDS data shows the following patterns for 2021-22 for its schemes - Tenancy Deposit Scheme, SafeDeposits Scotland and TDS Northern Ireland:

Cleaning claims - England and Wales 50% of all disputes involve a cleaning claim; Northern Ireland 47%; Scotland 71%;

Damage to fixtures and fittings - England and Wales 46% of all disputes; Northern Ireland 45%; Scotland 46%;

Rent arrears - England and Wales 13% of all cases; Northern Ireland 22%; Scotland 11%.

Steve Harriott, TDS chief executive, says: “We have known for many years that cleaning and damage are the main claims made in tenancy deposit disputes. 

“These figures show a remarkable consistency across the UK and over time, with the only oddity being that a massive 71% of disputes in Scotland involve cleaning claims.   

“It all points to the importance of agents having good check in inventory reports and check out reports, as these will provide clear evidence to support any cleaning or damage claims. For rent arrears disputes, we need to see the rent account statements to confirm that rent is owing”.


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