Number of rental deposit disputes between landlords and tenants falls

Steve Lumley·22 June 2022·6 min read
Number of rental deposit disputes between landlords and tenants falls

The number of rental disputes in the UK has fallen, though there is around £27 million worth of deposits currently held in disputes, it has been revealed.

The figures come from mydeposits, who say that the average tenancy deposit is now £1,005 per tenancy, that’s a fall of 1.2% over the year.

There are now 4.5 million tenancy deposits being protected in the private rental sector, that’s a rise of 2.3%.

This means that £4.6 billion is being held in a government-approved scheme - a rise of 1.1%.

Tenants and landlords won’t be seeing eye to eye’

The chief executive of mydeposits, Eddie Hooker, said: “It’s natural that a number of tenants and landlords won’t be seeing eye to eye over rental deposit deductions.

“The deposit held is a considerable sum for the average tenant and landlords will expect understandably their property to be returned in the condition it was let in and the rent to be paid in full.”

He added: “The good news is that deposit disputes are few and far between and account for less than 1% of the deposits held in authorised protection schemes.”

Mr Hooker says there has been a fall in the number of disputes being lodged which suggests that the PRS is becoming a ‘harmonious place’ over the past 12 months – and that post-pandemic, tenancies are increasing in length which results in there being fewer issues when a tenancy ends.

The amount being disputed fell

The figures from mydeposits highlight that the amount being disputed fell from 2021’s figure of £793, to £784.

The number of disputes also fell to 34,444 cases last year, a 12% decline.

This means that the number of disputes being lodged as a percentage of all deposits that are held fell to 0.8% from 0.9%.

The number one reason for a dispute over the deposit between tenants and landlords was for cleaning.

That’s followed by property damage, redecoration costs, gardening issues and rent arrears.

‘Disputes between tenants and landlords when the tenancy ends’

The figures have been welcomed by Simon Thompson, the managing director of Accommodation for Students, who said: “It’s good news to see that disputes between tenants and landlords when the tenancy ends are falling, and this probably shows that most disputes are resolved without having to go to arbitration.

“It’s probably also fair to say that tenants are staying in their rental properties for longer which means that fewer disputes are likely to take place.”

Private tenants to get the legal right to keep a pet

Meanwhile, it appears the government is about to give private tenants the legal right to keep a pet in their rental property.

The Daily Mail says that Michael Gove, the housing secretary, is planning a major overhaul of rules for the private rented sector with the Renters’ Reform Bill.

One of the law changes will prevent a landlord from having a blanket ban on a tenant keeping a pet in the property.

Refuse permission for a tenant to keep a pet

Now, a landlord will have to give a good reason when they refuse permission for a tenant to keep a pet. The tenant will also have the power to challenge their landlord’s decision when they are refused permission.

The Mail’s story also makes clear that tenants will need to get insurance to cover any damage to their rental home before a pet moves in.

With 4.4 million families living in England’s PRS, just 7% of landlords are advertising their rental property as being pet-friendly.

Among those organisations campaigning for a rule change is Cats Protection which says there are one million households who rent that would like to own a cat but cannot do so because the landlord refuses permission.

The biggest reason why a tenant moves home

The news coincides with a revelation from The Deposit Protection Service that says the biggest reason why a tenant moves home is to find somewhere that will accept a pet.

The DPS has questioned 1,000 tenants who moved home between October last year and March 2022 about their reasons for moving - and 30% say they moved to accommodate a pet.

Last year, just 7% of tenants said that moving to find somewhere to live with a pet was the most significant reason for moving.

The managing director of The DPS, Matt Trevett, said: “The easing of Covid restrictions means tenants are not as interested in moving from cities to a suburban or rural area, as they were during the pandemic’s height.

“However, it is interesting seeing the popularity of pets during lockdown having an influence over tenant priorities.

“The high level of rental property demand at present means that tenants who secure a home that will allow pets will typically stay there longer which results in certainty for both the landlord and tenant.”

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