Poor Communication To Blame For Nearly A Third Of Tenancy Deposit Disputes

March 27,2022 | The TDC Content Team

Figures show that 30% of disputes between tenants and landlords are in relation to not returning their deposit, and not receiving any communication or explanation as to why they were not getting their money back. 

Poor communication ranked as the most common cause of dispute, followed closely by the cleanliness of the property, and disagreements in relation to damage sustained during a tenancy.

Other tenancy disputes related to general redecoration, missing or replaced items and outstanding rent arrears or bills. 

The statistics show that the total number of disputes processed through the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, mydeposits, has increased over the last three years. However, the number of escalated disputes reaching an adjudication stage fell by 2.9% for 2019 – showing an increasing appetite from both landlords and tenants to settle disputes early on in the matter.

The figures show the importance of communication, for both tenant and landlord. Tenants can raise very valid concerns in relation to the property, and how a landlord deals with that concern can paint a picture for the entire tenancy, whether positive or negative. The majority of any unpleasant issues faced by landlords and tenants seem to sprout from the soil of communication breakdown.

Scott Birchall, Director at Smooth Commercial Law, stated:

We often see problems stemming from the return of a tenancy deposit, making an otherwise satisfactory tenancy turn sour. 

More often than not, better communication between the two parties can solve disputes before any adjudication process.


Tenancy Deposit Disputes Figures


Year Dispute Notifcation Adjudication Made Percentage going to Adjudication Change
2016/2017 8702 5774 66.4% N/A
2017/2018 8824 5709 64.7% -1.7%
2018/2019 9323 5792 62.1% -2.6%


Dispute Cause Percentage of Disputes
Desposit not returned – No reason given 30%
Cleaning 23%
Damage to Property 18%
General Redecoration 13%
Other deductions – Reason unknown 9%
Missing / replacement items 4%
Rent arrears / outstanding bills 3%

Figures taken from Property 118.

The figures show a steady increase of tenancy disputes being sent to the Government-backed “mydeposits”. A tenancy deposit not being returned to the tenants by their landlord with no reason given accounted for 30% of these disputes.

The figures also show an increase since 2016 of disputes being settled amicably, however. Figures released by a Tenancy Deposit Scheme company, TDS, also pointed toward disputes being resolved before adjudication. Of their 17,628 cases between April 2018 and March 2019, 23% were resolved in the pre-adjudication stage. 

The rise of cases being settled amicably is largely being put down to the success of Tenancy Deposit Schemes and their ability to protect tenants and their deposits. 


What is a Tenancy Deposit Scheme?

When tenants begin renting their home from a private landlord, they will more often than not be asked to pay their landlord a deposit. This can sometimes be called a security deposit, and it is used to cover potential costs like:

  • Rent arrears
  • Damage to the property 

At the end of your tenancy, if all is well with the property and there is no damage or rent to pay, your landlord should give you back your deposit in full. If, however, you owe rent, you have damaged the property, or you have lost or broken some items from the inventory, your landlord may be entitled to take money from your deposit. 

If tenants rent their home on an assured shorthold tenancy, their landlord must protect their deposit in one of three Government-backed tenancy deposit schemes.

This is so that the tenant is protected against rogue landlords. This way, the landlord cannot use the deposit as income, or simply spend the money. They also have to go through a scheme to raise any deductions at the end of the tenancy, which you are entitled to dispute. 

Your landlord must put your deposit into a scheme within 30 days of receiving the deposit, and tell you exactly where it is being protected.


How can Tenancy Deposit Claims help?

By law, under the Housing Act 2004, every landlord is obligated to protect a tenancy deposit into one of the three Government approved deposit protection schemes mentioned above. These schemes are:

At Tenancy Deposit Claims, we have a dedicated team of experts who are used to dealing with landlords, day-in, day-out. If your deposit has not been protected and you do decide to make a claim against your landlord, we are committed to securing the best possible outcome for you and we will keep you up to date in relation to your case, every step of the way.

Your landlord is liable for up to three times the amount of the original deposit. 

At Tenancy Deposit Claims we make claiming for compensation easy:

  • No Win, No Fee*
  • No Upfront Payments
  • An Expert Team
  • Regulated and Authorised by The Solicitors Regulation Authority

You can get in touch with an expert team today by completing our online enquiry form here. Enter your details and we will be sure to get back in touch with you as soon as possible.

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This means that if we are unable to recover compensation for you, we will not charge you.

If we are successful in recovering your damages, we will charge you 25%+VAT of your damages.

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