Tenants in UK private rented sector unaware how to challenge deposit issues

illions of people who rent homes in the private rented sector in the UK want to challenge their landlord or letting agent when their deposit is not returned but don’t know how to, new research suggests.

Overall billions of pounds worth of deposits are not returned with 16% of tenants believing that they have lost their deposit unfairly, according to the analysis from lettings app SPCE.

This rises 25% for tenants aged 18 to 34 and 30% for student tenants. Of those who challenge the deposit not being returned some 18% have been successful, the research also shows.

The independent survey of more than 2,000 UK adults found 13% have wanted to challenge attempts by their landlord or lettings agent to take money from their tenancy deposit, but did not know the legal course for doing so, equating to 2.34 million people. It comes as industry statistics suggest that over a billion pounds is lost each year in tenancy deposits.

Some 19% have lost money from a tenancy deposit due to damages being incurred to the property during their time living in it, with this figure rising to 28% for millennials and 40% for students.

It also found that 13% have lost money from a tenancy deposit due to damage done by one of their fellow housemates and 14% have lost some of their deposit due to problems that existed before they had moved into the property.

‘With rent prices at record highs, the financial demands placed on tenants looking to secure a property has never been greater. The amount of money required upfront can be significantly high, and the risk of losing some of a deposit can cause notable financial stress to those attempting to move to another property,’ said Leon Ifayemi, SPCE chief executive officer.

‘More should be done to increase awareness of the frameworks in place for those seeking to challenge unfair attempts to take money from a tenancy deposit. This is a legal right that cannot be ignored, with students as well as young people generally clearly requiring greater support and education as to their tenant rights,’ he added.