Deposit disputes rise by 25%

Deposit disputes rise by 25%

The latest TDS stats show that there has been a steep 25% rise in tenancy deposit disputes, with one-third of agents making claims.

This escalation in disputes is a worrying trend for agents and landlords and the key question is, what gives them the best chance of winning a deposit dispute – an in-house or third party inventory?      

Many agents instruct an independent third party to combat any conflict of interest issues that may arise in the event of a dilapidations dispute.  But, according to Imfuna Let, the UK’s leading inventory software solution, the independence and impartiality of a third party report can always be called into question, where the landlord or the agent instructs and pays their favoured independent provider to produce it.

Howard Lester, Director of Balgores Property Group comments: “Since the introduction of the Tenant Deposit Scheme, we have seen a steady and sharp rise in disputes. Over the last few years, these have changed in nature from the situations where agreement just couldn't be reached between the landlord and tenant, to parties just trying their luck as the realisation kicks in that the process is free of charge.

In order to reduce the amount of disputes, Balgores Lettings has been steadily increasing the quality of its inventories, using several apps over the last few years, with more photos and better descriptions. Additionally, we have employed our own clerks, improved the quality of their inspections and introduced pre-checkout visits to offer tenants advice on which items are likely to lead to deductions, if not corrected before the final checkout.


We have experienced a 25% fall in disputes requiring TDS adjudication, compared with last year.  We believe that by working with top inventory software companies, employing our own well trained clerks, as well as having a member of our management team who specialises in negotiating settlements, we have been able to buck the trend of rising disputes.

Perhaps one of the biggest help in this reduction has been the introduction of pre-checkout visits, where we are able to show the tenant the original inventory three weeks before the checkout.  We find very few issues when the final inspection takes place.

To make this work to its best ability, we have always looked to use the clearest and most concise inventories, so we are in the process of transferring to Imfuna Let. The software’s before and after pictures convinced us to switch. As well as being great for the tenants, we have found that landlords are more willing to accept wear & tear, as they are able to see the process throughout the tenancy with mid-term property inspection reports being sent to them.

Over the last 12 months, more than 65% of disputes have been settled in favour of the landlords we represent.  This goes to prove that if you have a quality inventory prepared, properly recorded inspections and checkouts carried out, then you are less likely to end up in a dispute with the tenant.”

Jax Kneppers, Founder and CEO of Imfuna Let comments: “The tenancy deposit is the tenant's money and the onus lies with the landlord to provide indisputable proof of dilapidations before compensation can be awarded. The deposit scheme adjudicators are only concerned with the evidence presented in support of a compensation claim and not the source of the inventory report documentation.  Who actually instructs and completes the inventory is irrelevant and to date there is no legislation to the contrary, which is extremely unlikely to change at any time in the future.  

Instructing an independent third party will not free the managing agent from their obligation to obtain quotes in support of any proposed deposit deductions after the check-out, or to negotiate a settlement with a potentially difficult tenant, who may be hell bent on initiating a dispute with the deposit scheme, regardless. Not to mention the landlord, who may not understand the concepts of fair wear and tear and betterment and whose future custom may well be at risk if an adjudicator's decision is unfavourable, as a result of a poor quality report supplied by the agent's recommended provider.

Inventory providers' terms are full of disclaimers, including responsibility for accuracy, which ultimately lies with the landlord. Any admission of liability for an error on their part will probably revolve around the volume of business received from the agent, which again contradicts the independence issue.

We offer agents a world-class inventory software application, Imfuna Let, which produces detailed, professional and branded in-house inspections reports from just £1 each. The software also provides a valuable new income stream.”

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Latest Comments

Spencer Fortag
Spencer Fortag 25 Aug 2016

The funny thing is, I mentioned the brick issue in my blog back in April: http://medwayproperty.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/the-medway-property-market-and-lack-of.html

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SecomTech
SecomTech 19 Aug 2016

Firstly, I either lodge with DPS or do not take a deposit...secondly, If a tenant has not received a confirmation their deposit is secured with either a scheme or in an insured account with an agent/landlord,...

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jasonevans
jasonevans 19 Aug 2016

Belvoir has over 15 years of experience in property lettings, buying and renting and is one of the best agencies I know about. I have heard that they revived an award for the hard work. Really amazing...

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jasonevans
jasonevans 19 Aug 2016

Usually these areas are least affected when it comes to unexpected economical collapse.

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TheWaspNestRemover
TheWaspNestRemover 11 Aug 2016

You agree to pay for the treatment needed to get rid of fleas, ants, mice, wasps nests and other pests unless you can prove that these are a result of us not meeting our repairing responsibilities or these...

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madisonwelch80
madisonwelch80 02 Aug 2016

16% is quite a raise. Let's hope this tendency won't continue for long.

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madisonwelch80
madisonwelch80 02 Aug 2016

?66,963 is a serious price drop However buying a property it a serious investment only small percentage of the UK population could afford.

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madisonwelch80
madisonwelch80 02 Aug 2016

Wow, it kind of surprised me. I mean counting on mom and dad's bank even after retirement is too much. That's the moment in life when one should have ensured themselves. I am shocked.

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AbbieP.
AbbieP. 22 Jul 2016

"While house prices in the most expensive eleven boroughs have declined values in the cheapest eleven boroughs continue to rise" - not a nice way to even out the price range. London is overrated as it

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AbbieP.
AbbieP. 21 Jul 2016

And try to profit from your decisions, I may add

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CommercialTrust
CommercialTrust 19 Jul 2016

Retirement investment has always been one of the biggest draws of buy to let. And the buy-to-let demographic is, on balance, older. (Over a third of our applicants are over 50 at the time of application.) It...

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Forrest Wheatey
Forrest Wheatey 11 Jul 2016

I find the time perfect for ever home-owner wannabe. Prices should slowly, but steadily drop, at least for the inner buyer. Making it harder for outsiders to buy properties (the whole Brexit thing means...

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