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Revealed - how many tenants get 100% deposit back after a dispute

New figures show that in England and Wales, 69 per cent of disputed deposits are split between the landlord and tenant, with the tenant getting all of the disputed deposit back in 16 per cent of all disputes.  

In Scotland, the equivalent figures are 65 per cent shared, with 21 per cent of cases seeing the tenant get back all of the disputed award.  In Northern Ireland, the data shows the tenant gets back the deposit in 39 per cent of all disputes, with 49 per cent of the disputes seeing a shared outcome.

The figures come from The Dispute Service’s annual report for 2020-21.


The Dispute Service operates a number of statutory tenancy deposit protection schemes in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. 

As part of the overall service, agents, landlords and tenants have access to free dispute resolution in relation to disputes about the distribution of the deposit at the end of the tenancy.  

It also offers free mediation and conciliation services through TDS Resolution in England and Wales and SDS Resolution in Scotland. These operations focus on tenant and landlord disputes arising during a tenancy and aim to help landlords and tenants reach a suitable solution which allows them to sustain their tenancies. 



“We receive about 22,500 initial dispute requests each year at The Dispute Service and many of these are resolved by the landlords and tenants themselves or by our own early resolution efforts. We issue around 15,500 formal adjudications each year. It’s interesting to see the data on these disputes and share it with the industry with the aim of helping them to avoid common disagreements in the future” comments Steve Harriott, chief executive at the Dispute Service.

The report can now be accessed for free here.

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    So in 84% of disputed cases the LL gets all or some of the money claimed. Seems to me that's the bigger story!

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    What’s the point in having a Deposit if they get it all back & this is encouraging them not to take of the property.
    The LL still has to fix & at repair at his own cost plus deal with the administration and the encumbrance of the Scheme adding to the burden of letting. Property had far less damage before any of this.

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    I've never bothered trying to retain any of the deposit, apart from the one DSS tenant whom I had to evict.

    It's just too much hassle for minimal compensation. I just make sure that I am charging as much rent as the market will bear to the new tenants, but typically won't increase tents for sitting tenants as long as they behave themselves.

    Problem tenants will find rents increased as much as possible until they get the message and leave.

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    If a tenant is reasonable, up to date with rent and leaves the place clean I'll generally over look a few things before making a deduction from the deposit, my last tenant to leave, end of last month got his full deposit back after 4 yrs, I could have made a claim on a few minor things but didn't bother.

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    I have never kept any Deposit or part of in 43 years that’s when I used to take Deposits that’s fact. The Tenants knew that I could possibly stop some money so they kept the property better, everything worse now and much more damage. The Deposit schemes are now all about the Deposit and not the Property.

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    What percentage of tenants get the full deposit back with no dispute?
    I've only ever had to keep a deposit to pay towards unpaid rent - with the tenants' agreement.

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    Sometimes if you had a Deposit they didn’t give you last months rent, how true is that.


    Yes that often happened

  • Matthew Payne

    Thats the TDSs numbers who take a very balanced approach to disputes. Wait till we get the DPS numbers. 84% of deposits returned to tenants in full?


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