Lack of cleanliness easily biggest reason why tenants forfeit deposits

Cleanliness – or its lack – has been named by letting agents as the most common reason for tenants losing their deposit.

A survey of 265 ARLA Propertymark member branches found that 88% of agents said the main reason tenants don’t get their deposits back is because they leave the property dirty or messy.

Another 44% cited lack of maintenance such as keeping the garden in a fit state, while 39% said issues of direct damage to the property were the most common reasons for losing a full deposit.

Unpaid rent was cited by 31% of respondents as a common cause, while leftover belongings, unpaid bills and keys not being returned were also highlighted.

The figures are similar to data from the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS).

A TDS spokesman said: “In our recently-published Annual Review, cleaning and damage were the two most common causes for deductions.

“In our insured scheme, cleaning accounted for 56% of disputes, and damage was involved in 51% of cases.

“In the custodial scheme, damage was the most common cause of disputes, accounting for 68%, and cleaning was second at 47%.

“In both schemes, redecoration was the third most common reason for deposit disputes.”

The most common reasons why tenants don’t get their (full) deposits back at the end of tenancy agreements

Percentage of agents who selected each option

Lack of sufficient cleanliness


Lack of maintenance (i.e. overgrown gardens)


Direct damage to the property and its contents


Unpaid rent at the end of the tenancy


Damage due to carelessness and lack of maintenance


Unwanted personal belongings left behind


Keys not returned at the end of tenancy


Unpaid bills at the end of the tenancy


Pest infestation


What reasons have you seen for deposit disputes?

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