Communication is key to avoiding deposit disputes

According to the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC), a simple conversation could be the key to avoiding a formal tenancy deposit dispute.

Related topics:  Landlords
Warren Lewis
6th October 2015
Cash 2

If a tenant contacts their landlord to discuss any disagreements over deposit deductions, the chances of it culminating in a formal dispute adjudication by one of the three government-approved tenancy deposit protection schemes could be significantly reduced.

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), recently published its annual report which shows that the number of disputes lodged with the organisation increased by 25% in the past year.

Figures recently released by my|deposits, show that in the past year 30% of initial disagreements didn't proceed to a formal Alternative Dispute Resolution, showing the importance of communication between all parties.

The total number of disputes is growing year on year but if this figure is to fall over the next few years landlords and tenants must learn to communicate more effectively.

The TDS reports that cleaning (58%) and damage (52%) were the two most common reasons for disputes during 2014/2015.
These types of disagreements are far more common than rent arrears disputes (10%), TDS has revealed.

Patricia Barber, Chair of the AIIC, says: “It is disappointing that disputes seem to be on the rise. 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. 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.”

The increased frequency of damage and cleaning disagreements highlights the value of a properly detailed inventory carried out by an independent inventory clerk. The deposit protection schemes may place more weight on an inventory that is compiled by an inventory professional rather than the landlord.

An independently compiled 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.”

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