60% of UK flatsharers have been involved in a dispute with a landlord over their tenancy deposit, new research has found. As well as this, only a third (31%) of British tenants are aware of their rights as renters.
The findings from dedicated flatsharing website Weroom.com showed that 57% of flatsharers had felt intimidated by their landlord or letting agency. In addition, 15% said they had “given in” during a dispute to avoid more confrontation.
According to Weroom’s survey, the most common deposit disputes were surrounding damage (70%), maintenance (68%) and cleaning of the property (30%). Flatsharers in London were most likely to be affected by deposit disputes.
71% of those surveyed said they had lost deposit money in situations they deemed not to be their fault, while 22% revealed that they were still dealing with a deposit dispute a year after leaving the property.
Furthermore, 57% bemoaned their landlords’ failure to put their deposit into a government backed scheme at the start of their tenancy. They also complained that their landlord failed to adequately maintain the property during the tenancy. 15% also said that their deposit had been completely withheld without satisfactory explanation.
As for the legalities surrounding tenancies, Weroom’s research revealed that 31% do not fully understand their legal rights as tenants, with just over one in 10 (13%) confident of their responsibilities.
52% failed to conduct recommended inventory checks at the start and end of their tenancy, while only 36% took photographs of the property before moving in as proof of its original state. Additionally, 23% of respondents only became aware of their rights and responsibilities upon entering a tenancy dispute.
To combat this, Weroom.com has launched a free Deposit Protection Guide on their website with key information and advice for renters on common deposit disputes and how to avoid them.
“Deposit disputes are becoming an inevitable part of the rental experience and this has got to stop,” Thomas Villeneuve, CEO of Weroom, said.
“Leaving a property with a broken lightbulb or a dirty oven are increasingly common – and easily avoidable – causes of deposit disputes and reasons for landlords to withhold money from renters. Landlords and renters alike should feel confident that their interests are being protected, and an awareness of their rights and responsibilities as tenants is an easy way to minimise the opportunity for a dispute to arise.”
The Deposit Protection Guide is free for flatsharers to download now from Weroom.com.