Findings from a research done by alternative deposits provider Ome shows that the foremost reason for the conflict between landlords and tenants is the unexplained or poorly explained deductions from the tenant’s deposit after the termination of the tenancy. Disagreement on property cleanliness upon checking comes second. And other reasons for disputes include redecoration, missing or replaced items and arrears on rent and bills.
The research also shows that there has been an increase in the disputes for the past three years (9,323 disputes were raised last year), but the number reaching the adjudication stage is decreasing (just 5,792 or 61% reached the adjudication stage, down from 64.7% the previous year and 66.4% the year before that). The declining numbers may have been caused by early resolutions and negotiations, an indication that problems between landlords and tenants can be resolved amicably if the lines of communication were kept open.
From Matthew Hooker, co-founder of Ome:
“The return of a deposit can often be a cause for an otherwise fantastic tenant-landlord relationship to sour and the stats show that the leading reason for this is poor or lack of communication.
The sector is starting to provide solutions to these friction points and technology is helping to create a more transparent end of tenancy process. Ome, for example, will naturally see 30% of these disputes caused by landlords withholding cash without an explanation eradicated by providing a cashless deposit experience. We’ll also be pushing improved transparency and communication by pioneering the mandatory check in/check out reports.
Through our research I’m confident that the industry is on the right path and choice, competition and improving technology is helping to raise standards and protect the interests of both tenant and landlord alike.”
According to Shelter, landlords can only keep money from the deposit if the tenant has caused the property owner financial loss and evidence to prove those deductions must be provided. Unpaid rent and damage to property are listed as reasonable deductions.
However, a breach in the tenancy agreement which did not actually cost the landlord anything, cannot be a reason for deductions. Examples of such are, smoking on the property or keeping a pet. But if the pet or the act of smoking incurs damages to the property, then the deductions shall take effect.