How to avoid deposit disputes

What to do at the start and end of a tenancy to avoid a deposit dispute

Less than 1% of all tenancy deposits end in dispute, but when it does happen it can end up being an expensive nightmare for all parties involved.

Many potential disputes can be avoided and one of the quickest ways to make sure conflicts don’t happen is to ensure all the correct information is provided to everyone at the right times.

Keeping audit trails of any changes made to the property, both by the landlord and tenant, can drastically improve the chances of a dispute being sorted quickly and reduce the chance of any acrimonious feelings between those involved.

This needs to happen from day one until the last day of the tenancy. Make sure the new tenant knows what is expected straight away. By doing this it will help them as much as it will help you.

Here’s what needs to be done right at the start and right at the end of a tenancy:

When the new tenant checks in

Having a detailed as possible report about the condition of the property is important. This goes further than a full inventory and cleanliness. Make notes of the last time it was professionally cleaned as well as being up front about any marks or scuffs on the upholstery so any new ones can be noted.

Also point out brand new decorations down to the date it was done so it becomes clear what they are getting.

Making a note of different odours could also be a good idea, although smells can be subjective and caused by many things a distinct new one will be hard to avoid.

Always back all of this up with as much documentation and images as possible.

When the tenant checks out

This is where conducting a thorough inventory at the start will pay off. As the house is inspected, refer to it constantly, and if you had a hand in making it to start with you should know exactly what to look for.

As before, keep a note of every detail and compare your new document with the old one once you are finished.

Also, even if it looks clear make sure you touch it! Stickiness and pet hairs are often hard to detect but can be costly to remove.

What to do if you think a deposit deduction is needed

If you find yourself in a situation where the property has not been returned in a satisfactory state, you may need to deduct from the deposit.

This process can often cause disputes and conflict between landlord and tenant, so make sure you’re completely sure and have the documentary evidence to back it up.

Clear, concise reasoning as to why the landlord thinks a deduction is vital.

On top of this pointing out exactly where in the tenancy agreement the landlord believes the tenant has breached will be needed.

If the tenant decides to dispute the claim, then it will need to be taken to an adjudicator.

At Mistoria Estate Agents, part of our landlord service is to conduct inventories and property checks on behalf of our landlords. We carry out thorough check in and check out inspections to ensure there is official paperwork, documentation and photographs at the start and end of every tenancy. Whilst it can feel like an uncomfortable process, we understand how vital it is for both landlord and tenant to be clear and consistent when it comes to the condition of a property.

If you own a rental property and would like help and advice on how to manage a successful tenancy, ensuring you meet all the legal requirements and remain up to date on guidance and legislation, please contact our experienced team. We manage 1000 properties and 3000 tenancies in the private and student rental sector and can help you with all aspects of rental property management. Call us on 0800 500 3015 or email info@mistoria.co.uk.