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Cleaning remains the number one cause of deposit disputes

When renting out a property, most landlords opt to take a deposit from the tenant before the tenancy starts. The deposit offers a level of protection to landlords and means that should the tenant breach the terms of the tenancy agreement, such as causing damage or not paying rent, appropriate deductions can be made from the deposit. But what are the main causes for landlord and tenant disputes?

Fresh research by ARLA Propertymark (formerly the Association of Residential Letting agents) has revealed the truth behind why landlords may not return part – or all – of deposits to tenants, in order to cover costs.

The study found that the most common cause of a tenancy deposit dispute in the private rented property sector is cleaning, with 88% of letting agents surveyed identifying this as a major contributing factor as to why a deduction was made to the tenancy deposit.


A lack of property maintenance is the second most cause of disputes at 44%, followed by damage to a property and its contents at 39%, and rent arrears at the end of a tenancy at 31%. 

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



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