Research by rental deposit replacement scheme Ome shows that in 2019, just over £5.2bn was held in rental deposits across the letting sector.
This figure is calculated from 4.6 million tenancies seeing the average tenant spend £1,139 to secure a property.
Over the past year, total business investment in the UK reached £198bn.
Whilst the money used as traditional deposits equates to a small percentage of that, if it was available to the wider economy it would boost UK business investment by 2.6%.
The £5.2bn held in traditional deposits last year exceeds investment into a number of sub-industries.
Investment in the UK real estate sector over the past 12 months totals £35bn, and the sum of £5.2bn equates to 15% of this total investment.
Matthew Hooker, co-founder of Ome, said: “It’s quite astonishing when you consider the total sum used as rental deposits across the nation and especially when you compare this with investment into the UK.
“It really puts into perspective just how much money it actually is.
“To think it exceeds the annual investment seen in a number of UK business sectors, and nearly 3% of total UK business investment in the last 12 months, is remarkable and makes you think how useful these huge sums of money can be when put to good use.
“Of course, we appreciate that these unutilised tenant funds are unlikely to be ploughed into the UK business sector via investment if they weren’t tied up, but it does demonstrate the huge sums being held by landlords and agents and the sheer size of financial security the nation’s tenants must collectively put down when looking to rent.
“Just think what else this money could be doing and the good use the additional cash flow could have to a tenant’s rental wellbeing?
“Hopefully, as we move more and more towards tenant focussed replacement schemes such as Ome, we may one day find out.”