Nearly 20% of renters say that when they hand over their deposit cheque, they never expect to see all the money again. Meanwhile the same proportion of landlords say the deposit they took didn’t full cover damage by tenants.
Research by conveyancers Slater and Gordon shows on-going battles between landlord and tenant.
Just 41% of tenants received their full deposit back, while 76% said they thought the process was unfair. Furthermore, 72% felt like they had to fight their landlord to get the sum of deposit back they felt they were owed.
Four in 10 tenants received none of their deposit back when leaving the property with the average UK tenants paying their landlord a security deposit of £549.
However, eight in 10 (79%) landlords say that their tenants have caused more damage than their security deposit can cover.
The most common reasons landlords and letting agencies gave for refusing to hand back a deposit were stains on the carpet (58%), chipped paint and damaged wall paper (54%) broken or damaged furniture (45%) and broken or damaged windows (31%).
Samantha Blackburn, property lawyer, from Slater and Gordon, said: “Security deposit disputes between landlord and tenant are a common problem and something we are seeing our clients experience more and more. If tenants are respectful of the property and leave it in the same condition as when they moved in they can reasonably expect to get their full deposit back.
“We advise tenants to take photos of the property on arrival and keep a detailed inventory throughout your stay – making note of any damage, alerting your landlord to it at the time.
“Landlords should do the same and make sure they what they are charging their tenants is an accurate security deposit to reflect any damage that might occur during the tenancy.”
Almost one in five (79%) of landlords said they wished they had asked for bigger deposits from their tenants after damage to their property wasn’t covered – including damage to the carpets, walls, appliances and furniture.
But, landlords admitted to rarely liaising with their tenants, with 24% saying they only spoke to their tenants once every three months.
More than two in 10 tenants claimed that not receiving their full deposit back caused fall outs with their housemate and 26% said they were unable to afford the deposit for their next property.
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