Deposit dispute figures drop

By Will Leyland, 21 October 2016

Lettings agents across the UK have received a further boost to their reputation as new figures have emerged suggesting that disputes between tenants and landlords have dropped significantly.

Since the introduction of tighter regulation and guidelines for letting agents, their reputation and customer experience ratings have improved consistently across the board. This allows a much more professional relationship between landlords and their tenants.

Previous to the prominent position of organisations such as Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) and the Property Ombudsman, there was a real issue with rogue agents who were charging overinflated fees for poor service. The Government and heads of industry had become increasingly concerned as the Private Rented Sector (PRS) grew exponentially thanks to rising house prices.

As more potential tenants were entering the rental market due to increasingly unaffordable house prices, there was a real need for intervention to ensure that reputable agents were supported and rogue agents were shut down. The industry has already seen significant improvements which have been highlighted by these latest figures.

The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC) has suggested that the new government figures detailing the number of deposit disputes between tenants and landlords are largely positive.

According to their findings, between March 2015 and 2016 there were 28,100 disputes resolved by the three Government approved deposit protection schemes which may be the highest number ever recorded. However, this figure only represents 0.82% of the total deposits now protected by the Deposit Protection Service, Tenancy Deposit Scheme and mydeposits.

The AIIC believes this is positive news which indicates the huge number of deposits that have been protected since 2007. However, the organisation also concedes that more work can be done to reduce the proportion of deposit disputes even further. Reports conclude that cleaning features in 57% of all claims dealt with, while damage to fixtures and fittings is mentioned in 51% of cases.

Clarity, transparency and quality should be paramount and reputable letting agents have no problem with greater regulation to enable far superior customer service. Tenants and landlords are then able to see fully that the charges passed on to them are reasonable and transparent whilst allowing landlords to invest money to provide greater quality housing. Quality letting agents are in the vast majority and are charging appropriate fees.

The trends show that tenants and landlords are enjoying improved relations as a result of the growing standards of letting agents. The PRS can be comfortable in the knowledge that, as more and more people enter the market, there is plenty being done to innovate and protect both landlords and tenants.

With the housing crisis showing no signs of being solved, there can be mutual benefits enjoyed by landlords making a steady and secure profit and tenants enjoying well maintained, high quality homes. There is no reason to suspect that this situation won’t continue to improve and, based on that fact, the industry should take pride in its efforts.

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