The most common rental dispute reasons revealed

April 27, 2020
Blog

Following our recent blog, that discusses what happens when a landlord and tenant cannot agree at the end of a tenancy, we investigated the most common rental dispute reasons.

Our latest data research also revealed which areas of the UK have seen the biggest uplift in deposit disputes, as well as the areas with the highest number of total disputes raised.

Areas in the UK with the biggest increase in rental disputes

Research shows that London is home to the highest proportion of rental disagreements between landlords and tenants when it comes to the return of a deposit, accounting for 37 per cent of all cases in the last year.

The South East came second with 16 per cent of all disputes, while the North West also accounted for double-figure disputes at 11 per cent.

However, when it comes to the change in dispute figures year on year, it is Yorkshire and the Humber that tops the table, with a notable 28 per cent increase in the number of rental deposit disagreements seen within the rental market.

The East of England has also seen one of the largest increases at 17 per cent, with the capital ranking third, up 7 per cent in the last year.

It is not all negative though, with the East Midlands and South West seeing a decline in deposit disputes, down 2 per cent annually, while the West Midlands saw an increase of just 1 per cent.

Common rental dispute reasons

Poor communication as to why a deposit was to be withheld was the most frequent cause for disputes across every region other than the South East. In the South East, the cleanliness of a property at check-out was found to be the number one cause of a dispute.

Cleaning, poor communication and damage to a property ranked as the top three issues across all regions other than the East Midlands where general redecoration ranked third along with cleaning as the biggest cause of a dispute.

Across the board, disputes resulting from the lack of explanation for withholding the deposit has seen the largest annual increase, up 12 per cent year on year, followed by disputes on missing items from the property (up 10 per cent) and damage to the property (up 6 per cent).

However, disputes concerning holding onto the deposit due to rent arrears have seen a year on year decline of 8 per cent which should be encouraging for landlords.

Our Co-founder, Matthew Hooker, commented:

“Deposit disputes have always been a bone of contention within the rental industry and despite the sector’s diverse makeup, they tend to focus on the same issues concerning outstanding payments, damage, cleanliness, and missing inventory wherever you are. The introduction of formal dispute resolution has, at least, eased the burden from the courts and a standardised approach has raised standards in the sector. However, despite this, rental deposits remain a friction point for many tenants and landlords. This tends to be most prevalent within London where the sums being disputed are far higher than other regions but as the data shows, the number of cases fluctuates regionally and will continue to do so year to year. Unfortunately, there’s not one single solution that can fix all when it comes to deposit disputes and it’s imperative that the industry continues to deal with each dispute on a case by case basis with an impartial body regulating this practice.”

Ranking by disputes %

Disputes 2018-19