Deposit Deduction Causes

Since 2007, landlords are now required to place all tenancy deposits in one of the government-backed schemes.

A recent mid-year survey of 2588 conducted by Hillarys (interior company) found that 29% of tenants have had their rental deposits withheld, with 81% of respondents claiming that their landlord or property agent “searched” for a reason not to return the deposit.

To ensure that the deposit can properly cover any damage, accidental or otherwise, caused by the tenant, landlords should always conduct a detailed inventory before the tenant moves into a property. This allows the landlord or property manager to easily identify any damage caused compared to the property’s condition before the tenant first moved in. The costs of repair can be deducted from the tenant’s deposit if it goes beyond an appropriate amount of wear and tear.

The Biggest Causes of Deduction to Rental Deposits - Infographic

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<img title="The Biggest Causes of Deduction to Rental Deposits - Infographic" src="" alt="The Biggest Causes of Deduction to Rental Deposits - Infographic" />
Infographic by <a title="Ashburnham Insurance Services" href="">Ashburnham Insurance</a></p>

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Top 5 reasons why tenants have money deducted from their rental deposit

  • Broken furniture – 29%
  • Marks on the walls – 25%
  • Carpet stains – 21%
  • Redecorations – 12%
  • Mould – 9%

Respondents were also asked whether or not they believed that the reason provided by the landlord for the deposit deduction was good enough. To which 68% stated that they did not.

A spokesperson for Hillarys Blinds, Tara Hall, has said:

Security deposits are an unavoidable part of renting a property, and can be an essential way for landlords to deal with damage caused by tenants. But they can result in disputes and are a major cause of distrust among tenants.

A similar survey of 20,388 tenants, carried out in January by Homelet in their Tenant Survey 2017,  places a significantly lower percentage of tenants (12.5%) that have had their deposits withheld. It’s difficult to get an accurate representation of the entire renting population of the UK. But for comparison, the most common reasons stated in the Homelet survey for deposits being withheld are:

  • Cleaning – 39.1%
  • Redecorating costs – 19.3%
  • Landlord didn’t provide a reason – 18.7%
  • Damage to landlord’s fixtures and fittings – 16.1%
  • Carpet damage – 13.1%
  • Damage before moved in – 12.7%
  • State of garden – 10.2%
  • Damage to landlord’s furniture – 7.7%
  • Rent arrears – 4.8%
  • Fraud – 4.0%
  • Other – 27.8%

Interestingly, in the Landlord Survey 2017 conducted around the same time of 3,726 landlords:

  • 27.6% of landlords have withheld a tenant’s deposit
  • 35% haven’t withheld a deposit
  • 35.7% leave the handling of deposits with their letting agent
  • 1.7% do not take deposits from tenants

The main reasons given for withholding a deposit are:

  • Rent arrears – 30.8%
  • Damage to fixture and fittings – 29.3%
  • Cleaning – 26.7%
  • Damage to furniture – 3.4%
  • State of garden – 1.6%
  • Other – 8.2%

These are all very different figures, and it would be interesting to see more comparisons between the different demographics of each survey. It’s especially interesting in the earlier survey from January, the huge difference between the percentages for rent arrears.

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