Which areas of the UK have seen the biggest uplift in deposit disputes?

Warren Lewis
17th February 2020
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What’s causing landlords and tenants to fall out of love in your region? New data from rental deposit replacement scheme, Ome, has revealed where in the UK is home to the highest number rental deposit 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% of all cases in the last year.

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

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% 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%, with the capital ranking third, up 7% in the last year.

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

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 and deposits 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% year on year, followed by disputes on missing items from the property (+10%) and damage to the property (6%).

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

Matthew Hooker, Co-founder of Ome, 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 no one 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.”

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