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How to avoid deposit disputes

I read a very interesting and somewhat alarming article this week about tenancy deposit disputes hitting an all time high.

According to a report on the Landlords Today website the new figures revealed by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme are the highest since records began in 2007.

The report stated: “The data shows that at the end of March 2016 there were close to 173,000 tenancy deposit disputes adjudicated in the nine years since the legislation was first introduced in England and Wales.

“Indeed in 2015-16 alone the three deposit schemes operating in England and Wales resolved 28,100 disputes, the highest ever annual amount. This represents a total of 0.82% of all deposits protected at March 2016, a figure which has stayed at about that level for the last six years.”

The article went on to say that cleaning now accounts for the majority of tenancy deposit disputes.

It continued: “Cleaning was mentioned in 57% of dispute claims handled by the TDS, followed by damage to fixtures and fittings features at 51%, redecoration at 32% and rent arrears in 19% of claims. Gardening disputes were mentioned in some 16% of tenancy deposit claims.”

In the 29 years I’ve been involved in the lettings industry I’ve had blessedly few deposit disputes.

I put this down mainly to the following six things. Of course problems and issues happen from time to time but by following these steps you’ll reduce their likelihood.

  • Reference tenants thoroughly.
  • Be clear in writing what the tenant’s (and landlord’s) obligations are.
  • Maintain regular contact and keep lines of communication open to build rapport.
  • I always encourage landlords to treat tenants with respect and vice versa. Simple but usually works.
  • From a tenant’s perspective it’s always a good idea to get a professional cleaning company in at the end of a tenancy to hand back the property in good condition.
  • Last but certainly not least a detailed, well recorded inventory at the start of the tenancy can pave the way for a dispute free end to the tenancy when the tenant moves out.

If you are interested in more detailed information about this or any other aspect of being a landlord or tenant in Chiswick and west London please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.

Thanks for reading