Deposit Disputes: Five ways to avoid them

By in News

The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC) believe that many landlords are leaving themselves vulnerable to disputes because they are not getting their paperwork in order at the very beginning of a tenancy.

Pat Barber Chair of the AIIC, said ‘Landlords can greatly improve their chances of winning a dispute if they are better prepared for a potential dispute.  Over and over again, we see Landlords losing disputes because they can’t provide the right evidence to show that a tenant has damaged the property.  Deposit protection schemes rules dictate that at the end of the tenancy, the deposit belongs to the tenant in its entirety, unless a landlord can prove otherwise.’

The DPS reported that Landlords were awarded judgement in just 16% of cases compared to tenants who won 36% whilst in 48% of cases there were split awards.

So how do you make sure you are and your tenant are covered?

  • Professionally Compiled Inventory – this will make sure everything is listed, as well as its condition, that needs to be covered, includes images where necessary and takes note of any meter serial numbers.
  • Check in procedure – on move-in day both the tenant and landlord (or the letting agent) should walk around the property checking everything off against the inventory, agree the contents and then both sign. No-one should be left in any doubt as to the condition of the property when the tenant moved in. The Deposit Schemes recognise there are different levels of cleanliness ranging from none at all through to domestically cleaned and professionally cleaned. A cleaning invoice is useful evidence and can be included in the check-in report.
  • Regular Inspections – should be carried out to make sure that the tenant is not breaching any part of the tenancy agreement as well as note the condition of the property on an ongoing basis and making a formal record of this. Don’t forget you’ll need to give your tenant 24 hours notice of any inspection and get their agreement.
  • Check out procedure – make sure you remind your tenant of the check-out process at least 2 weeks before they are moving out to give them time to rectify any issues. It is advisable to do a check out meeting with the tenant (if they wish) and compare against the inventory for any problems. Make sure you compile a clear report after the inspection and note any issues clearly.
  • After the tenancy has ended – if you do have any deposit deductions to make then you need to notify your tenant as soon as possible along with a full schedule of costs.

For more information regarding our professionally complied inventories and the check-in and check-out process please call the lettings team.


Share This