The number of rental deposit disputes lodged with Hamilton Fraser’s government authorised deposit scheme, mydeposits, has fallen by -15 per cent across England so far this year.
At Ome, we analysed the data and found that London, the South East and the North East have all seen the largest drop in deposit disputes (-23 per cent) so far in 2020 when compared to the same time frame of 2019.
Deposit disputes are also down in the West Midlands (-16 per cent), Yorkshire and the Humber (-11 per cent), East of England (-8 per cent) and the North West (-2 per cent).
The East Midlands (11 per cent) and the South West (18 per cent) are the only regions to see an increase in deposit disputes in comparison to the same time frame last year.
While London has seen one of the largest declines, it is still home to the most disputes. The capital accounts for 37 per cent of all disputes lodged so far this year, with the South East (16 per cent) and South West (10 per cent) also accounting for a large percentage.
At just two per cent, the North East is home to the lowest number of deposit disputes as a percentage of all disputes in England.
The main reason for withholding a deposit has been for post-tenancy cleaning which accounts for 26 per cent of all deposit disputes. Damages and the deposit not being returned in the first place are also some of the most common reasons that deposits were withheld (20 per cent).
The average amount being disputed has remained unchanged at £811, however there has been a slight swing in the proportion of deposit being awarded.
On average, tenants are being awarded two per cent less of the average deposit when compared to last year, while landlords are receiving two per cent more on the average deposit dispute.
That said, tenants are still being awarded 67 per cent of their deposit via the average dispute claim.
Co-founder of Ome, Matthew Hooker, commented:
“Lockdown restrictions have prevented many renters from ending their tenancy and this will have contributed to the reduction in deposit disputes seen so far this year.
However, the majority of disputes already lodged will relate to tenancies that ended prior to lockdown and so it’s encouraging to see a drop none the less.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out during the rest of the year and if there is a spike in deposit disputes further down the line once lockdown has ended.
Unlike the backlog of evictions that have amassed due to new government legislation, deposit disputes haven’t been put on hold as a result of the current pandemic as they can still be processed online. Therefore there is a good chance this positive trend is here to stay and we still continue to see a more harmonious relationship between landlords and tenants for the months and years to come.”