ARLA Propertymark recently highlighted a catalogue of the primary motives for private landlords refusing to reimburse their tenants’ deposits. The research indicated that 88% of the letting agents who participated in the study have had to retain a renter’s deposit due to properties being left in an unclean or damaged condition.

The physical standing of private rental properties also continued to surface as the Landlords and Agents surveyed correspondingly referred to maintenance as another crucial challenge with tenants. They stated that occupants are required to take care of the premises they’re renting, including garden maintenance and structural upkeep, but most simply are not.

Tenant’s deposits are taken to cover exactly these items, yet many dispute a non-returned deposit despite more than fair wear and tear or damage.

Tenant’s Behaviour

44% of the study’s participants cite insufficient maintenance is a key reason for the retention of a tenant’s deposit.

Shortly following as next most frequent justification for non-returned deposits appears to be direct damage like stained carpet, or broken furniture/fixtures, with 39% of those who answered the survey stating that was a legitimate reason to hold back funds.

Finally, with 31% of lettings agents who took part in ARLA’s study in agreement, unpaid rent is the third most valid reason to refuse a deposit refund to private tenants.

Issues such as infestation also appeared in the list with 2% of participants complaining of unwanted pests.

Managing the Consequences

This survey has been interesting for both landlords and agents but for tenants too, as they often don’t understand their maintenance obligations.

The president of ARLA Propertmark, Sally Lawson stated that it’s highly important for tenants to bring damage or other issues to the attention of their agents to prevent instances of non-returned deposits.

However, ultimately, due to the nature of the industry there will always be disputes when it comes to returning deposits and this is why it is essential to have a robust Inventory Report which covers furnishings and structure.

Having a comprehensive inventory report in place, which covers all aspects of the property and is signed by both parties at the beginning of the tenancy is vital for reducing long disputes. You must also make tenants aware of their maintenance obligations, especially if it is a long term let.

Assistance with Deposit Retention

If you find that you are often in dispute with tenants over deposits then you might like to review your administration.

Talk to us today about how we can Assist you with your inventory processes. We offer property inventory services in London and our reports feature over 150 pictures every time, guaranteed to safeguard you in the event of a dispute with the need to retain a tenant’s deposit.

We’re offering a free property inventory report to all first time users. Contact to book and try us out.