17 May 2019

Not-for-profit operator Tenancy Deposit Scheme says early intervention between landlords and tenants across the UK is resulting in many more deposit disputes being resolved by agreement rather than adjudication.

By law, each deposit protection scheme must offer free dispute resolution services for tenants, landlords and agents who can’t agree how deposits should be distributed at the end of a tenancy.

Dispute resolution can involve a number of solutions and does not automatically involve formal adjudication.

Now figures from TDS and its sister organisations TDS Northern Ireland and SafeDeposits Scotland show that the number of disputes over tenancy deposits, which are resolved before going to adjudication, has risen dramatically.

In England and Wales in the last 12 months, the number of tenancy deposit disputes being resolved before going to adjudication increased by 31 per cent compared to the previous period.

In Scotland the increase was 18 per cent and in Northern Ireland 56 per cent.

Fewer than one per cent of the tenancy deposits protected by TDS in England and Wales ends in a dispute – 17,628 cases between April 2018 and March 2019 – but of that one per cent almost a quarter were resolved in the pre-adjudication stages.

Alternative dispute resolution teams have introduced an early resolution step that proactively helps both parties reach an amicable settlement, without the need for the formal adjudication process.

“Resolving disputes over how the tenancy deposit should be divided quickly is beneficial for both the landlord and the tenant. That’s why we actively open a dialogue between the parties to secure a swift and amicable agreement” says Alison MacDougall, director of dispute operations at TDS.

“Disputes can be tense for parties involved in a tenancy, but we find that by facilitating a negotiation, we can help defuse situations and settle disagreements quickly and fairly. The parties all benefit from keeping control of the decision rather than asking a third party to make a decision for them.”

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