Search the site

The colourful world of deposits

publication date: Jan 2, 2012
Download Print Send a summary of this page to someone via email.
Tenancy Deposit SchemeFrom smashed antique vases to missing washing machines, the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, TDS, has heard it all and has published some of the stories behind deposit disputes in a new set of case studies. 

These are to show how independent adjudicators approach a deposit dispute when landlords and tenants cannot reach an amicable agreement. It is part of a continuing campaign to make deposit resolution open and easy to understand.

This latest examples also cover redecoration problems at the end of a tenancy; one was a case of betterment, where the tenant had done a better decorating job than the landlord.

Guidance notes point out that a deposit cannot be treated like a new for old insurance policy – if landlords could replace items like that, it would amount to being betterment at the tenants’ expense. Allowances must be made for fair wear and tear. 

The length of a tenancy and the age of the missing or damaged item need to be considered as do its quality,
condition and life expectancy at the beginning of the tenancy. This emphasises the need for a good condition report at the outset.

TDS guidance notes stress that an adjudicator cannot assume that a property was in good condition at the outset.
The publication of these guidance notes and case histories follows consultation with the Members’ Forum of the TDS as well incorporating the views from organisations such as the National Union of  Students, NACAB and Shelter.

“Although disputes cannot always be avoided, by publishing the experience we have gained, we can help landlords and tenants and their letting agents to find an amicable solution without going through the process of Alternative Dispute
Resolution,” said Steve Harriott, Chief Executive of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. The full (made anonymous) studies and the guidance notes to go with them can be found on