Dispute resolution: What’s involved and how long does it take?

No one likes to find themselves facing a deposit dispute. Often the fastest way to resolve a dispute is to talk to your tenants and come to a fair and reasonable agreement on how the deposit should be split between you.

In some instances, despite your best efforts, you may reach a stalemate. If you find yourself in this situation, our Dispute Resolution Service is there to help you. Disputes can take a lot longer to resolve than finding an agreement directly with your tenant, and to help you understand why dispute resolution takes the time it does, we’ve laid out all the steps in our handy infographic timeline. Users of the service do need to be aware that disputes often last for the full duration below, though it’s worth bearing in mind that our adjudicators do resolve many disputes more quickly than this.

DPS Dispute Timeline


Day 1 Your claim formally enters dispute. We email instructions to you and your tenants to collate and submit evidence. Both parties have 14 calendar days from the date of this email to submit their evidence. We won’t request specific items of evidence so make sure you submit everything relevant to your claim.
Day 15 All evidence from you and your tenants must be submitted by this date.
Day 16 Our disputes team needs up to seven calendar days to carry out the pre-adjudication assessment of all evidence. If they identify a problem with the evidence, they may contact you or your tenants for clarification, which can delay us in sending the dispute to an adjudicator.
Day 23 The dispute is sent to an adjudicator who then has up to 28 calendar days to review all the evidence submitted against the claim and reach a decision on how the deposit will be repaid. Adjudicators can reach a decision more quickly but often need the full 28 days.
Day 51 The adjudicator reaches their decision and communicates the result to us.
Day 53  Our disputes team sends details of the adjudicator’s decision to you and your tenants. It then takes a further 3-5 working days following the decision for any payments to be completed.


In some circumstances, as mentioned above, these timings could be extended. Most often this occurs when a query arises regarding the evidence or the claim itself, either during the pre-adjudication assessment or the main adjudication. It’s worth remembering though, that if you can’t reach agreement with your tenant, and either of you decide not to use our free dispute resolution service, the only alternative is to take your claim to the courts, which can be a long and costly process.

Here to help you

Our free dispute resolution service is here to help you and your tenants reach a fair and reasonable outcome in the case of a deposit dispute. That’s why we’ve created helpful guides for every stage of the process. To help you avoid any potential delays to the dispute resolution process, and increase your chances of a successful claim, make sure you follow our guidance for submitting your claims and evidence.