Deposit disputes decline across most English regions during lockdown

Only two regions in England have seen a rise in tenancy disputes so far this year.

Analysis of disputes lodged with Hamilton Fraser’s Government-authorised deposit scheme, mydeposits shows the number of cases fell annually in the first five months of 2020.

London, the south east and the north east of England have all seen the largest drop in deposit disputes, down 23% so far.

The east midlands (11%) and the south west (18%) are the only regions to see an increase in deposit disputes.

London 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.

The north east accounted for just 2% of disputes.

The main reason for withholding a deposit was for post-tenancy cleaning, which accounts for 26% of all disputes. Damage to the property and the deposit not being returned are also some of the most common reasons that deposits were withheld (20%).

The average deposit amount being disputed has remained unchanged at £811, however, on average tenants are being awarded 2% less compared with last year and landlords are receiving 2% more.

The analysis was conducted by mydeposits’ sister company Ome, an alternative deposit provider.

Matthew Hooker, co-founder of Ome, said: “Lockdown restrictions have prevented many renters from 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 as they can still be processed online.

“Therefore there is a good chance this positive trend is here to stay and we still continue to see a more harmonious relationship between landlords and tenants for the months and years to come.”

Location
Percentage increase in disputes year on year
Current disputes as a percentage of total
Jan-May 2019 to Jan-May 2020
Jan-May 2020
London
-23%
37%
South East
-23%
16%
South West
18%
10%
North West
-2%
9%
East of England
-8%
8%
East Midlands
11%
6%
West Midlands
-16%
6%
Yorkshire and the Humber
-11%
4%
North East
-23%
2%
England
-15%
N/A
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