Tenants lose a total of £367m per year as a result of deposits being withheld.
According to the website FindaProperty, 40 per cent of tenants in the last three years have lost some or all of their deposit, with the amount averaging £313 per tenant. One in five said they had had over £500 withheld.
One-fifth of tenants claim they were penalised because of damage caused by previous tenants, and 10 per cent resorted to legal action to try to recover withheld deposit money.
The most common reason for deposit monies being withheld was to cover the cost of cleaning (37 per cent) and damage to carpets and curtains (21 per cent), while 19 per cent of charges related to marks on the wall and 13 per cent to poor garden maintenance.
A disgruntled 43 per cent of tenants who have had deposit funds withheld say the amount of money deducted was considerably more than it would have cost to fix the problems.