Posts with tag: tenancy disputes

Landlord and letting agent tips to avoid tenant disputes from The DPS

Published On: December 11, 2019 at 9:15 am


Categories: Lettings News

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Preparing for disputes in advance can help a landlord or letting agent’s chances of avoiding them later on, says The Deposit Protection Service (The DPS).

According to The DPS, anticipating a dispute at the outset of a tenancy means that they are less likely to encounter one once it ends. The DPS provides advice on how to do so in its new video.

These tips on avoiding disagreements on the return of tenancy deposits, as well as the importance of inventories and the use of photos.

Matt Trevett, Managing Director of The DPS, said: “Thorough, mutually-signed documentation that describes the condition of a property and its contents when tenants arrive can dramatically reduce the likelihood of disagreements when they move on.

“Clarity over how much a property has changed during the tenants’ occupation means fewer grounds for disagreement or confusion over the costs of cleaning or dealing with damage and any other issues.

“In our experience, around 97% of tenancies end with landlord and tenant agreeing on whether deductions from the deposit are necessary, but our free, impartial Dispute Resolution Service can help ensure that there is a fair settlement when they don’t see eye-to-eye.”

The DPS has highlighted the key tips provided in the video to help landlords and letting agents:

1) Complete a check-in report at the start of a new tenancy, listing the condition of everything in the property, including the carpets, walls, garden and furniture. Keep the report fair and factual

2) Make sure that everybody agrees with the description of the property — and that tenants sign the check-in report. In the event of a dispute adjudicators can have reason to doubt a report’s content if the tenant has refused to sign it. Tenants should also sign reports from periodic property inspections

3) Take date-stamped photos to support the check-in report. Include an accompanying note that makes it clear what the photographs show. Retake the same images at the end of the tenancy and stamp the date. These images can then illustrate any specific damage or deterioration of items

4) Complete the report — and get it signed by the tenants — at the time they move in

5) Provide the tenant with a copy of the check-in report

Watch the video here:

Cleaning still top dispute at check-out

Published On: December 1, 2015 at 12:12 pm


Categories: Landlord News

Tags: ,,,

Landlords and agents are being faced with more dirty properties at the check-out stage of tenancy agreements, according to a new report.

Research from Imfuna Let reveals that cleaning is still top of the list of dispute cases at the conclusion of a tenancy period, now accounting for 58% of all tenant disputes.


In fact, cleaning disputes were up 5% year on year. Next came property damage, which amounted to 52% of all disputes, followed by redecoration (32%), gardening (17%) and rent arrears (10%).

Additionally, the average cleaning claim was found to be the second lowest in value, behind those for gardening issues. At the top of this list came rent arrears, amounting to an average value of £1,164, followed by property damage (£475), redecoration (£449), cleaning (£220) and gardening (£195).

Cleaning still top dispute at check-out

Cleaning still top dispute at check-out

Jax Kneppers, Founder and CEO of Imfuna Let, observed,’ many tenants claim that the cleanliness of the property at the start of the tenancy was not clear, or that the tenancy agreement did not make clear what was expected of them.’ She continued by saying, ‘if agents and landlords wish to make deductions for cleaning costs, they need to be careful to record the cleanliness of the property in sufficient detail, at the start and easy of the tenancy. They will also need to ensure any charges they claim are a fair reflection of the property’s condition at the start of the tenancy.’[1]




Communication vital in avoiding disputes

Published On: October 6, 2015 at 12:58 pm


Categories: Landlord News

Tags: ,,

The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC) has reiterated that by holding a simple conversation, landlords and tenants could avoid entering a formal tenancy deposit dispute.

According to the AIIC, if a tenant contacts landlords to discuss any issues concerning deposit-deductions, the chances of an eventual formal dispute by one of the government-approved tenancy deposit schemes is greatly reduced.


Recently, the Tenancy Deposit Scheme published its annual report, which showed that the total number of disputes lodged with the firm rose by 25% in the last 12 months.

Further data released by mydeposits indicate that during the last 12 months, 30% of initial disagreements did not go forwards to the Alternative Dispute Resolution. This underlines the importance of increased communication between all parties.[1]

Yearly, the number of disputes are rising, with the AIIC warning that if this figure is to fall, the importance of communication is paramount.

Common reasons

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme also indicates that cleaning (58%) and damage (52%) were the two most common reasons for disputes. Rent arrears made up just 10% of issues.

‘It is disappointing that disputes seem to be on the rise,’ noted Patricia Barber, Chair of the AIIC. ‘There are easy steps to follow to ensure that both parties are protected and the chance of an end of tenancy dispute is minimised. Aside from the tenancy agreement, protecting a property by having a fully detailed inventory is vital,’ she added.[1]

Continuing, Barber said, ‘tenants must have a copy of this document on the day they move in to enable them check and agree the contents. This signed document can then be used at time of check out, it is very difficult for a tenant to argue against such firm evidence of check in condition. Should a dispute occur a simple conversation between the landlord and the tenant really could make all the difference.’[1]

Communication vital in avoiding disputes

Communication vital in avoiding disputes


Barber believes that, ‘the increased frequency of damage and cleaning disagreements highlights the value of a property detailed inventory carried out by an independent inventory clerk. The deposit protection schemes may place more weight on an inventory that is complied by an inventory professional rather than the landlord.’[1]

‘An independently complied inventory will comprehensively detail the condition of the property at the beginning of the tenancy. Therefore, it can become an invaluable resource at the end of the tenancy and really could contribute towards avoiding a formal deposit dispute,’ she concluded.[1]




Tenants Win Deposit Disputes Against Landlords and Agents

A tenant has won a case relating to utility charges for the use of a shared heating and air conditioning system within their rental apartment.

The amount of deposit in dispute was £900.

A specially negotiated clause in the tenancy agreement stated that the tenant was responsible for the payment of heating and cooling charges for the apartment.

The clause said that the landlord was entitled to “retain a portion of the deposit towards pro-rata charges incurred for the usage of heating and cooling.” 

The agent said that the apartment block’s managing agents had not yet provided the bill, due to “installation, metering and commissioning issues.” Without a bill, the agents suggested an estimated cost of £900.

Tenants Win Deposit Disputes Against Landlords and Agents

Tenants Win Deposit Disputes Against Landlords and Agents

The tenant disputed this amount, claiming to have not used the heating and cooling system throughout the whole tenancy and proposed a £200 charge, which they deemed a fair “portion” of the deposit to be held.

The adjudicator, the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), believed that, as the agent could not provide billing information or other evidence to justify its £900 charge, the sum was unfair, given the tenant’s likely usage of the heating and cooling system.

The TDS said that a portion of the deposit should be awarded to the landlord, due to the terms in the tenancy agreement. The adjudicator considered the tenant’s suggestion a suitable amount.

The TDS regards a specially negotiated clause in a tenancy agreement to be an absolute obligation of the tenant.

However, the precise wording of the clause should be carefully evaluated, meaning that the adjudicator can sometimes disagree with the amount in dispute.

This case emphasises the importance of providing justification for an amount to be deducted from a deposit, even if the tenant’s obligation is considered absolute.

Another recent case relates to a claim by a landlord against the deposit when looking to re-turf the lawn after damage caused by a leatherjacket infestation.

The amount of deposit in dispute was £500.

During the tenancy, the tenant reported to their agent that there was an ongoing problem with the rear law. The tenant arranged for the leatherjacket larvae infestation to be treated and the lawn reseeded.

However, the seed did not germinate and at the end of the tenancy, the landlord said the lawn must be re-turfed.

The landlord stated that within the tenancy agreement, the tenant was obliged to keep the garden in a good condition, with a responsibility to take all reasonable precautions to prevent infestations and to pay for any treatment of infestation caused by “negligence.”

A lawn expert’s report said that the seed was failing to germinate because of a lack of sunlight and also found that no larvae were present.

The property check-out report did not state any problems with the lawn, detailing that it had been seeded.

The adjudicator believed that the tenant’s actions did eradicate the larvae, but that the lawn was left bare because the seed did not germinate due to a lack of light.

The adjudicator said this was not within the tenant’s control and there was no evidence to prove that the infestation had been caused by the tenant’s negligence.

As the deposit is used to compensate the landlord when a tenant breaches the tenancy agreement, the adjudicator made no award to the landlord for re-turfing the lawn.

The evidence indicated that the lawn deteriorated during the tenancy and the landlord sought to reclaim their financial loss by relying on the responsibilities detailed in the tenancy agreement.

However, the tenant had tried to treat the problems with the lawn. The fact that the seed did not grow could not be blamed on the tenant.

The adjudicator concluded that the tenant’s actions were reasonable and tenant-like, with no evidence of negligence or clear breach of the tenancy agreement.