What causes the most disputes between landlords and tenants?

Data released by The Dispute Service (TDS) in its latest Statistical Briefing for 2021-22, has some interesting insights on the reasons for tenancy deposit disputes across the UK.

In 2021-22 the three tenancy deposit schemes in England and Wales issued 31,276 adjudications representing an increase of 1,579 from the previous year.

In 2019-2020 the schemes dealt with 34,993 disputes. The drop in disputes is linked to the impact of Covid, with fewer tenancies ending during the Covid lock down period.

In Scotland, a similar picture emerges with 6,678 disputes in 2019-20, but this dropped to 5,012 in the year ending in March 2021 as Covid hit.

In Northern Ireland there were 488 disputes to March 2022, compared to 568 in March 2020, showing a similar downturn as a result of Covid.

The main reasons for deposit disputes are remarkably consistent across the UK, with the number one reason being to do with cleaning.

The TDS data shows the following patterns for 2021-22 for its schemes [Tenancy Deposit Scheme, SafeDeposits Scotland and TDS Northern Ireland]:

Cleaning clams

England and Wales: 50% of all disputes involve a cleaning claim

Northern Ireland 47%

Scotland 71%

Damage to fixtures and fittings

This remains the second highest reason for disputes across the UK

England and Wales: 46% of all disputes involve a cleaning claim

Northern Ireland 45%

Scotland 46%

Rent arrears

The picture here is mixed across the UK.

England and Wales; rent arrears are a factor in 13% of all cases

Northern Ireland 22%

Scotland 11%

Steve Harriott, CEO at TDS, said: “We have known for many years that cleaning and damage are the main claims made in tenancy deposit disputes. These figures show a remarkable consistency across the UK and over time, with the only oddity being that a massive 71% of disputes in Scotland involve cleaning claims.

“It all points to the importance of landlords/agents having good check in inventory reports and check out reports, as these will provide clear evidence to support any cleaning or damage claims. For rent arrears disputes, we need to see the rent account statements to confirm that rent is owing.”



Email the story to a friend


  1. Woodentop

    Cleaning isn’t just down to lettings … try looking at sales by vendors abandoning their property. Shame there isn’t protection for buyers too.

  2. KByfield04

    Clear, concise and professional documenting is critical. Inventories & Checkout reports are at the heart of how we operate at The Depositary, and this evidence-led approach sees nearly 80% of all proposed deductions agreed by tenants without any attempt at negotiation. Emotions have no place in this process- facts, evidence and (legitimate) contractual terms is all that matters.


You must be logged in to report this comment!

Comments are closed.

Thank you for signing up to our newsletter, we have sent you an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Additionally if you would like to create a free EYE account which allows you to comment on news stories and manage your email subscriptions please enter a password below.