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One in five renters don’t expect full deposit back

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.

Want to comment on this story? If so...if any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals on any basis, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.

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    Sop why is a lawyer advising tenants to do what the agent/landlord should be doing? No inventory means tenants can argue it was there when they moved in and agent/landlord would have no grounds for dispute. Simple.

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    Whoops! For Sop read So. Sorry folks.

  • Elmar Gasimov

    When I moved out of my property, the agency conducted their end of tenancy check-out and I was supposed to receive my £1700 deposit within two weeks. A few days later I received an email from the agency saying that I had an open balance of £1080 for air conditioning costs (the one I used on two occasions, as London isn’t exactly famous for heat waves). Obviously this was ridiculous and unjustified. I knew from my neighbours who had experienced something similar, that this particular agency was famous for making money of deposits. In fact a friend of mine who worked with them previously, told me that their main source of income was *via* the deposits.

    In the UK all deposits must be insured in a government-backed deposit scheme. However, the scheme this estate agency used was MyDeposits, an insurance based scheme, which is more agent friendly. No way I could get my money back from them! Apart from the laughable cooling charge, they also wanted to charge me for “missing items”. Luckily, I was clever enough to take pictures before I vacated the property, and it clearly shows the missing items on the picture. So with no end in sight, the only option that remained was to sue for my money.

    Because the agency managed the property for the landlord, I was never able to communicate directly with him. In fact, in every single communication, they always implied that it was the landlord who claimed the charges. This was simply not true. As I found out later, the landlord was never aware of any charges, nor anything else for that matter. He eventually got in touch with me to clear up the issue and was in fact a lovely chap. I received my deposit back, but it took a lot of emailing, legal threats and 4 months.

  • El Gorman

    The tip concerning making photos are very useful. If you even don't have digital camera, take one from your friends, relatives or acquaintances, but you should definitely make a photos.
    Friend of mine had an unpleasant situation with the landlord. The property owner found some damages, when my friend decided to move out. However, the last one didn’t even saw it. Friend didn’t have any proof, that damages had been there before. And if he had taken pictures when he moved in, he would have definitely won the case.

    Some more interesting ideas how to avoid misunderstanding with landlord concerning security deposit are bathed in the article https://rentberry.com/blog/get-security-deposit-back. I think it would be helpful for renters.


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