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Tenancy deposit disputes: Our 6 top tips to avoid them

A tenancy deposit dispute can arise for many different reasons, including unpaid rent, damage to the property, overgrown gardens and, most common of all, poor or no cleaning at the end of the tenancy. Suppose an agreement is unable to be reached between the tenant and landlord. In that case, the landlord will likely raise a claim to deduct money from a tenant’s deposit to address/remedy the situation through an approved tenancy deposit scheme, where an adjudicator will assess the facts by reviewing the evidence from each party. Fortunately, in most cases, a resolution can be reached without the involvement of an adjudicator, and a dispute can be promptly resolved between the parties. But what are the key points that can help avoid a lengthy dispute?

  1. Good communication between the parties throughout the tenancy process is essential.
  2. A detailed/dated schedule of condition and inventory at the start of the tenancy and a thorough check-out report at the end. Detailed evidence is needed to support any claim.
  3. It’sIt’s essential that all evidence is clear and easy for all to understand and interpret.
  4. If changes are agreed upon during a tenancy, ensure that these are recorded and agreed to in writing, including the expectation of the parties at the end of the tenancy.
  5. Keep a log of any mid-term property visits and, if any issues occur, make the tenant aware at the time rather than leaving it until the end.
  6. If rent arrears are an issue, it is important to have rental statements to support them, along with a clear audit trail of any agreements reached during the tenancy.

At Winfield’s, our Full Management and Premium Full Management services take care of all of the above from the start, registering the deposit with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), compiling a full schedule of condition and inventory with photographs, carrying out mid-term inspections and providing detailed reports during the tenancy, plus a thorough, comprehensive check-out when the tenant vacates. During the tenancy, Winfields is the point of contact for both parties. It will deal with any issues, keeping an accurate record of all events during the tenancy to reassure you should a dispute occur. The above has resulted in less than 1% of Winfield’s tenancies ending in a dispute requiring a third party adjudication. If you want to know more about our letting services or discuss a deposit issue you are experiencing, contact your local office today.

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