What are the most frequent justifications for landlords deducting money from tenants’ deposits?

Requesting a property inventory report is a frequently essential measure for landlords that wish to give themselves the utmost peace of mind about the condition of their buy-to-let properties. Thankfully, in most cases, a comparison of the state of a property prior to and after a tenancy shows a positive outcome, although this is sadly not always so.

This has been made clear by new data released by the Deposit Protection Service (DPS), one of the three government-approved agencies through which UK landlords are able to store tenant deposits under an assured shorthold tenancy. The figures show the main reasons why landlords opt to take money from the deposits that they return to their tenants.

So, what the most common causes of a docked deposit?

Topping the list of reasons cited by landlords for deposit deductions was the cost of cleaning, as mentioned by 63% of landlords that had entered the DPS’ Dispute Resolution Service during the last 12 months. An additional 53% claimed the deduction of money was necessary to pay for damage that their tenants had caused.

Redecoration was another frequent reason for a landlord taking money out of their tenant’s deposit, as given by 37% of landlords, while rent arrears accounted for 23% and gardening costs, 16%. A further 16% of landlords appealed for a deposit reduction so that they could replace missing items, while 4% said they were docking money to pay outstanding bills.

Tenant disputes thankfully remain uncommon

While the above statistics may seem scary ones for many landlords and tenants with reason to request such a service as a property inventory report, the good news is that it isn’t very often that a tenancy ends in dispute between the two parties. Indeed, 98% of tenancies in the UK come to a close without the landlord having to ask for a deposit deduction.

According to DPS managing director Julian Foster, “many of the problems that lead to deductions can be avoided when both tenant and landlord are aware of their responsibilities and stay in regular communication throughout the tenancy.”

We can put together a detailed and reassuring property inventory report

By maintaining clear communication from the outset, landlords and tenants can be left in no doubt about their respective responsibilities, which can help greatly to avoid conflict further down the line.

Another important step is to have a comprehensive property inventory report undertaken, so that the property’s condition can be documented at the beginning and end of the tenancy. We would be delighted to provide this service for you here at Yellow Oak Inventories LTD, thereby helping to give you greater protection in relation to the property, whether you are the landlord or tenant.