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What to do in a deposit dispute?

What to do in a deposit dispute?

Have you ever been involved in a tenant deposit dispute? Well we've dealt with many and thats why we highly recommend that as a landlord you have an inventory conducted prior to each tenancy and a check out a the end. I hear you ask why should I pay out for that?


Well new data from The Deposit Protection Service (DPS) shows that 60% of deposit disputes were a result of damage to property, 40% were a result of cleaning and 31% redecoration in over 1,000 adjudications between a three month period (June to August 2011).


According to the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC), landlords should be much better prepared for disputes around damage and redecoration, to have any chance of winning in court.


Here is some great adive from the AIIC on how to better prepare yourself:


If you need to withhold part or all of the deposit from your tenant you must provide evidence to support your claim. (i.e. an inventory from the start then a comparison at the end such as a check out report). This allows a fair judgement to be made on the state that the property was rented in and the state when the tenant vacated.


The Tenancy Agreement: First and foremost, you must submit the AST agreement to help establish the obligations between you and the tenant. All Martin and Co Southampton West tenancies will have a very comprehensive AST signed by both parties prior to the tenancy start date.


The Inventory: Ensure you have a comprehensive inventory that is signed by the tenant when they move in.  Make sure any photos or videos are dated, and clearly point out any damage if relying on photos as evidence in a dispute.


Check-in and check-out: Attend the property when the tenant is moving in and moving out and inspect it together.  This way, you can usually come to an agreement over the deposit return at final inspection.


Relevant Evidence: Only submit evidence relevant to the claim.  For example, if claiming for property damage, don’t submit an unpaid utility bill.


Invoices, receipts or rental account statements: Submit invoices or receipts for any repair work that you’re claiming for.  If the claim involves rent arrears, provide detailed accounts showing unpaid rent. If the works have yet to be carried out then we recommend getting at least two quotes for the works from two different contractors (make sure the quotes are on company letterheaded paper).


Fair Wear and Tear: Don’t make deductions for minor damage that should be expected in any normal use of the property.  


For more information on property management issues then call our property manager a call to discuss are queries you may have. Martin and Co Southampton West is Southamptons number 1 letting agent. Call now on 02380 988881.