The main reason why tenants see deposit deductions being made has been revealed by research from the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).
The organisation says that tenants who fail to clean their property properly when leaving is the top reason for not getting their deposit back. This was the main reason for 88% of agents.
Arla recommends that tenants take photographs when their tenancy begins to avoid any disputes and use the images as evidence of the property's original state.
Letting agents also reveal that the next reason for losing a deposit, for 44% of Arla members, is for the lack of maintenance in the property, particularly in the garden.
The third most popular reason is for damage to the property itself, for 39% of agents.
Most common type of damage being caused by tenants
They report that the most common type of damage being caused by tenants is hanging mirrors and pictures from walls and they say tenants should ask the landlord for permission to hang pictures to avoid a deposit deduction.
Also, nearly one in three agents said that unpaid rent when the tenancy ends is being taken from the deposit, while 29% of agents said that they made deductions because of carelessness and 12% said tenants had left unwanted personal belongings behind which had to be disposed of.
Arla's president, Sally Lawson, said: “When tenants leave their property, the general rule is to leave it as they found it and they shouldn’t personal belongings behind and should be clean and tidy for those moving in.”
She added that tenants should flag up any damaged items to their letting agent or landlord so when they leave the deposit deduction 'does not come as a shock'.
Landlords warned to be wary of retaliatory evictions
Meanwhile, a warning has been issued by one law firm urging landlords to brush up on the procedures to protect against tenants accusing them of a retaliatory eviction.
A solicitor at Kirwans, Danielle Hughes, says that the laws on the issue are to be expanded next year and many landlords will be leaving themselves open to a legal claim of retaliatory eviction by failing to put in processes that deal with the issue.
Tenants could successfully fight a claim for possession
She explained: “Landlords may be surprised that tenants could fight a claim for possession successfully on what has been known, until recently, as the non-fault eviction process.
“The defence can invalidate a section 21 notice and lead to a judge striking out the claim but can also prevent a new section 21 notice from being served for six months.”
Ms Hughes added: “There's a strong chance of this in cases where a landlord has failed to effectively deal with complaints and had an emergency remedial action or improvement notice served on them by a local authority.”