Tenants have lost out on £1.1 billion in the past three years because of deposit funds being withheld when they leave the property, FindaProperty.com has claimed.
This amounts to an average of £367 million per year. Because of this, 10% of the renters surveyed has resorted to legal action to recover the missing funds.
40% of the 8.6 million tenants who have moved home in the past three years have had deposit funds deducted at the end of their tenancy to cover various charges applied by the landlord. On average, £313 was withheld per person, although 19% said they had more than £500 withheld.
Furthermore, 20% of all renters who were charged for damages claimed that these damages were in fact caused by a previous tenant.
The most popular reason for deposit monies being withheld was to cover the cost of cleaning (37%) and damage to carpets and curtains (21%). 19% of charges also related to marks on the wall and 13% to poor garden maintenance.
“Our research shows one of the main reasons funds aren’t returned is a miscommunication between landlords and tenants about the condition in which the home should be left,” said Nigel Lewis, property analyst at FindaProperty.com.
“The most common causes for renters not getting their full deposit back are inadequate cleaning, wear and tear and poor garden maintenance and these are all factors that are usually spelt out in the tenancy agreement. For this reason, it’s vital for renters to read their tenancy agreement closely before signing it and review it throughout their rental contract especially when it’s time to vacate the property.”
19% of all cases where deposit funds were withheld were either resolved or charges were reduced following discussions between the landlord and tenant, highlighting that there is room for negotiation in many cases. Unfortunately however 23% of tenants who contested their deductions were not so lucky and did not get any extra deposit back from the landlord.
43% of tenants who have had deposit funds withheld also say the amount of money deducted was considerably more than it would have cost to fix the problem identified by the landlord.