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Deposit Disputes Cause High Rates of Tenant Dissatisfaction

Industry Insight July 26th, 2015
Deposit Disputes Cause High Rates of Tenant Dissatisfaction

A new survey shows that a high percentage of tenants have been penalised in at least one deposit dispute

A survey by the removal firm Kiwi Movers has found that 52% of tenants have had issues with the return of their full deposit amount when it came to the end of their tenancy agreement. The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC) has urged tenants, landlords, and letting agents to take extra care when noting inventories this summer. It is recommended that landlords and tenants both take a careful list and even take dated photographs of the inventory as proof of condition in order to create greater clarity and reduce the opportunity for deposit disputes to arise.

The survey revealed that the most common reason for lost or lower deposit returns is due to missing items, whilst other reasons include repairs, cleaning, and unpaid bills. Professionals recommend that all tenants make sure that they are issued a copy of the inventory and double check that inventory at the time to make sure that it is correct. More often than not, it is cheaper for the tenant to replace any missing or damaged items than allowing the landlord or letting agent to do so.

Student experience seems to show that most student tenancies suffer deposit disputes within their time at university

As a student myself, I can speak from experience that deposit disputes in student lets are often lost or returned with a large chunk taken out. Our landlord charged us higher rates than we would have paid ourselves for new content. For example, we were charged £10 per piece of gum on the floor and I was charged £150 for a new mattress only due to a slight stain! Even after paying over £100 for cleaners, our house was still charged cleaning costs from the deposit. These charges appear extremely arbitrary, but there is little bargaining power on behalf of the tenant to reduce these prices – the landlord or letting agent can charge more at their own discretion. As such, I highly recommend tenants check their inventory at the beginning and the end with extreme care, unless they want to risk getting little to no of their deposit back.

Using Arthur can be extremely helpful for both parties seeking to reduce deposit disputes. The ability to upload inventories and documents makes it easier for tenants to access a comprehensive list of the property’s contents and their condition. Speaking as a student, I can say my household lost the inventory document and soon had little to no idea of what we had lost/broken until we got our deposit payment receipt back (or, to put it accurately, a tiny fraction of our deposit).

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