The overwhelming majority of tenancies end amicably, but sometimes deposit disputes do happen. In this week’s #ExpertView, TDS Adjudicator Michael Hill explains how TDS is working to prevent disputes.

For the last eight years, less than 1% of tenancy deposits protected by TDS in England and Wales has resulted in a dispute. That’s 31,865 disputes from 3.7 million tenancy deposits.

We understand that the dispute process can be stressful for the parties involved and often stops whoever is entitled to the deposit from receiving it whilst the parties negotiate, submit evidence and then await an adjudication decision. That’s why we work proactively with all parties involved to try to facilitate a satisfactory solution for all parties.

TDS also tries to prevent disputes arising in the first instance through several ongoing programmes and service options, outlined below.


Training events such as the TDS Academy Foundation Course, Adjudication Workshops and Disputes and Damages all try to educate our members on the disputes process and what methods they can use to resolve a dispute between themselves. We give tips on best practice to ensure check-in and check-out reports are transparent and detailed, and we provide statistics to show our members the most common reasons for disputes (cleaning topped the list in 2018, cited in 54% of disputes). Read more about the TDS Academy.

Deductions Template

The Deductions Template, a tool we’ve put together which agents and landlords can fill out when proposing deductions from the deposit, outlines to tenants exactly what evidence the landlord has to support their claim and which clauses in the tenancy agreement have been breached. This approach means a tenant has all the information available when they decide whether to accept the deduction or make a counter offer.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Our in-house ADR team stay in contact with both parties throughout the process and review the claims submitted at an early stage before the case reaches an Adjudicator. The team will answer any questions they can and will often contact parties to assist with negotiations.

Self-resolution model

In our TDS Custodial scheme, we have a self-resolution model which allows the parties to negotiate on how much of the deposit should be repaid to them through an online system. This model means that both parties can change their initial requests until they reach middle ground and do not have to proceed to adjudication.

Events and conferences

We attend a wealth of events across the UK to promote our services and we’re always open to our customers coming and talking to us about their previous or on-going disputes. We will guide you the best we can and give you any tips to help in the future so feel free to come and chat to us.

About the Author

After studying law at university, Michael Hill joined TDS in early 2015. Having started as a caseworker, Michael began working as a full-time adjudicator in September 2015. He currently works part-time as an adjudicator and part-time as executive assistant to the CEO, Steve Harriott. Michael has been responsible for adjudicating in over 2,000 disputes.

About TDS

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is a Government-approved scheme for the protection of tenancy deposits; TDS offers both Insured and Custodial protection and also provides fair adjudication for disputes that arise over the tenancy deposits that we protect.

We provide invaluable training in tenancy deposit protection and disputes for agents and landlords through the TDS Academy as well as joining with MOL to provide the Technical Award in Residential Tenancy Deposits.

TDS Insured Scheme: where a TDS member can hold the tenancy deposits as stakeholder during the term of the tenancy.

TDS Custodial Scheme: where TDS hold the deposit for the duration of the tenancy.

TDS Academy: TDS provides property professionals with invaluable training in tenancy deposit protection and tenancy deposit disputes.

TDS Northern Ireland: TDS is Northern Ireland’s leading and only not for profit tenancy deposit protection scheme.

TDS can only comment on the process for our scheme, other deposit protection schemes may have a different process/require different steps. Content is correct at the time of writing.

These views are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the view of TDS, its officers and employees.

ARLA|Propertymark: For agents who would like to stay up to date, you can contact Propertymark | ARLA at: By being a member of Propertymark | ARLA you will be eligible for TDS Insured best headline rates.

RLA: If you are a landlord and would like to keep up to date with any changes that may affect you or your responsibilities, you can contact the RLA at: and quote reference: dg715 to receive 25% off your first year’s membership.

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