The latest report from the Tenant Deposit Scheme suggests that disputes over rent arrears rose from 10% to 19% over the last year. This further underlines the importance of taking out a Rent Guarantee Insurance policy to protect your investment.
However, cleaning still takes top spot in terms of deposit dispute reasons, accounting for 57% of the overall cases brought to the TDS.
The second most common cause of disputes was found to be damage to property (51%), followed by redecoration (32%) and gardening (16%). The most expensive claim dealt with by the TDS during 2015-16 was £18,250.
Imfuma Let, provider of a digital inventory report app, said that landlords and letting agents are facing increasing challenges, with rent arrears and damaged properties at checkout.
Jax Kneppers, Founder and CEO of Imfuna, noted: ‘Landlords and agents need to ensure they make regular inspections of a property to check its condition and raise any issues with the tenant. If landlords and agents fail to visit the property during the tenancy, they could be in for a nasty surprise at check-out.’
‘At the start of the tenancy, landlords and agents should give tenants a thorough and professional inventory, which clearly records the condition of the property and its contents. Tenants should be made aware that it is their responsibility to leave the property as clean as when they took on the property, and if any damage is incurred during the tenancy the landlord or agent should be alerted immediately.’
Disputes over rent arrears rise
Continuing, Kneppers said: ‘It is vital that landlords and agents do a thorough check-in and check-out so they have the necessary proof of condition at the start and end of a new tenancy agreement. If agents and landlords wish to make deductions for cleaning costs, they need to be able to prove that there was a change in condition from the start to the end of a tenancy in order to prove deductions are warranted.’
Marie Brooks, of Monks Estate and Lettings Agents, also commented: ‘Providing a professional inventory report for every tenancy is essential in ensuring deposit disputes are a rare occurrence. When a detailed and thorough record of a property and its contents are provided at the beginning of a tenancy, there can be no doubt as to the amount of damage that has taken place when compared to the condition of the same at the end of a tenancy. In our experience, inventory reports have reduced tenant and landlord disputes to a great degree.’