Avoiding a tenancy deposit dispute

Avoiding a tenancy deposit dispute starts at the beginning of a tenancy - are you prepared?

Our previous article, on the Tenant & Fees Act 2019, touched on the Deposit Cap and the fact that this can no longer exceed the equivalent of five weeks rent where the annual rent does not exceed £50,000.  

The introduction of the Deposit cap on 1 June 2019 was a huge change for the private rented sector, and makes it even more important that the preparation for a dispute in respect of a tenancy deposit starts at the beginning of the tenancy.

The most important evidence in respect of deposit disputes is the check-in and inventory report. Ultimately, when a dispute arises, adjudicators under the Deposit Schemes will compare the check-in report with the check-out report to determine any changes to the condition of the property and its contents since the beginning of the tenancy.

It is imperative that that a check-in report is completed before the tenant begins occupying the property.  It should be as detailed and as thorough as possible:

  • Avoid any vague descriptions - it is best practice to include clear photographs with time stamps to supplement the descriptions
  • Provide details of the condition of walls, doors, carpets, furniture, garden, etc, but take care when describing these, as someone else’s interpretation of “good condition” may be very different to yours.  Being very detailed is important.

When a deposit dispute arises, the deposit scheme adjudicators will make their decision based on evidence:  without a detailed check-in report Landlords may face challenges when trying to prove that the tenant has caused damage the property.

To take the pressure off Landlords, a Landlord can now use a third party to carry out a professional check-in and inventory report. These specialists will remain impartial between the Landlord and the tenant, and will ensure that the check-in report is both fair and factual. To ensure that the check-in report will stand as strong evidence, it is imperative that it is agreed and signed and dated by both the Landlord and the tenant.

Being prepared at an early stage can significantly improve being successful in a deposit dispute at the end of the tenancy. and having a check-in report could be the key to a successful outcome to a dispute, or even avoid one altogether. 

For more information, and to find out how we could help you, call us now on 0800 118 1500 or contact Josh Millichamp directly.