Adjudication in tenancy deposit scheme disputes: agents’ perspectives

Sidoli del Ceno, Julian; George, Hannah and Vols, Michel (2015). Adjudication in tenancy deposit scheme disputes: agents’ perspectives. International Journal of Law in the Built Environment, 7(2) pp. 162–172.




The purpose of this paper is to examine empirically the operation of tenancy deposit protection within England and Wales. The paper consciously focuses solely on the views and perspectives of letting agents operating in the various schemes.


The paper is based on a series of semi-structured qualitative interviews with lettings agents in two distinct geographical urban areas, Birmingham and South Wales. Participants were selected for their market presence within a given area and the fact that they were all members of approved regulatory schemes.


Overall, most agents were broadly happy with the process and considered adjudication to be an appropriate form of resolution for tenancy deposit disputes given the often small monetary value of the disputes and the large volume of cases. Concerns were raised, however, regarding the heavy bureaucratic burden placed on agents and on the perceived evidential burden on the landlord. There being a widely held view that a landlord could rarely “win” outright.

Research limitations/implications

The qualitative data are based on a relatively small although representative sample of lettings agents’ active within the UK residential property sector.


The paper provides original data on the attitudes and perspectives of agents who manage deposit disputes. This is an area of current interest that has yet to receive sustained attention. Although concerned with legislation in England and Wales, its findings and discussion are relevant in other jurisdictions facing similar issues.

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