The number of rental deposit disputes lodged with Hamilton Fraser’s government-backed deposit scheme, mydeposits, has fallen by -15% across England so far this year.
Analysis of the data by Hamilton Fraser’s sister company and deposit replacement scheme Ome found that London, the South East and the North East have all seen the largest drop in deposit disputes so far in 2020 when compared to the same time last year; all with a drop of -23%.
Deposit disputes are also down in the West Midlands (-16%), Yorkshire and the Humber (-11%), East of England (-8%) and the North West (-2%).
The East Midlands (+11%) and the South West (18%) are the only regions to see an increase in deposit disputes during when compared to the same time frame last year.
While London has seen one of the largest declines it is still home to the most disputes. The capital accounts for 37% of all disputes lodged so far this year, with the South East (16%) and South West (10%) also accounting for a large percentage.
At 2%, the North East is home to the lowest number of deposit disputes as a percentage of all disputes in England.
The main reason for withholding a deposit has been for post-tenancy cleaning. This accounts for 26% of all deposit disputes, with damages and the deposit not being returned in the first place also some of the most common reasons (20%).
The average amount being disputed has remained unchanged at £811 however there has been a slight swing in the proportion of deposit being awarded.
On average, tenants are being awarded 2% less of the average deposit when compared to last year, while landlords are receiving 2% more on the average deposit dispute.
That said, tenants are still being awarded 67% of their deposit via the average dispute claim.
Co-founder of Ome, Matthew Hooker, commented:
“Lockdown restrictions have prevented many renters from actually ending their tenancy and this will have contributed to the reduction in deposit disputes seen so far this year.
However, the majority of disputes already lodged will relate to tenancies that ended prior to lockdown and so it’s encouraging to see a drop none the less.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out during the rest of the year and if there is a spike in deposit disputes further down the line once lockdown has ended.
Unlike the backlog of evictions that have amassed due to new government legislation, deposit disputes haven’t been put on hold as a result of the current pandemic. They can still be processed online so there is a good chance this positive trend is here to stay and we still continue to see a more harmonious relationship between landlord and tenant.”