Dealing With Tenancy Deposit Disputes


Sometimes when tenants vacate a property, whether it is after giving the required written notice or whether they leave early, there arises a dispute regarding the return of their tenancy deposit.

Our company policy is to take a tenancy deposit equal to 5 weeks rent off all new tenants, in-line with UK government guidelines, and we immediately protect those funds with the Deposit Protection Service (DPS). We must also issue the tenants with what is known as DPS Prescribed Information within the first 30 days, and a document that outlines the DPS Terms and Conditions, as well as all relevant contact details for the scheme’s administrators and all interested parties.

Jacob’s Ladder issues all our new tenants with that important documentation on the day their tenancy commences, before they even sign their new tenancy agreement.

Should a dispute arise over the tenancy deposit at the end of a tenancy, and as the managing agent we cannot reach an agreement between the landlord and the tenant, the DPS can step in and offer a free dispute resolution service.

This is a FREE and reassuring service for both parties, and is to be used only when the agent/landlord and tenant cannot reach an agreement over how much is to be deducted from their tenancy deposit.

Disputes can arise when we as agent, acting on behalf of one of our landlords, have decided to withhold a portion of the tenancy deposit, for reasons that may have come to light when we attended the check-out of the property.

Common reasons for this may include, but are not limited to:

1. Carpet Cleaning, damage/frays caused by pets, stains and/or replacement carpets

2. General Cleaning and Tidying of internal/external areas including ovens, kitchens and bathrooms

3. Redecorating, painting

4. Repairs to broken items i.e. glass shower panels, internal doors, kitchen cupboards, ovens, fence panels

5. Missing/Stolen or abandoned items i.e appliances, furniture, beds, wardrobes, tables or chairs

6. Rent Arrears

As a managing agent, we always try to offer tenants the opportunity to address any matters themselves, but there are times when this is either not possible, or they simply choose not to.

We always make time to personally walk through the property on the day the tenant vacates, with the tenant present, so that together we can identify any issues that may become a problem and have an impact on the return of their tenancy deposit. We allow one hour for this important appointment.

It is important to remember that the landlord is our client and we must at all times act in their interests. We do however, always endeavour to act fairly and swiftly and if necessary negotiate or mediate between the two parties, so that we can all reach an amicable solution, as quickly as possible.

In the interest of fairness, we complete a detailed written and photographic inventory when the tenancy begins, and we cross check this when the tenancy ends, taking into account any differences we may find upon check-out with the help of before and after photos.

As agent for the landlord, we must be able to clearly demonstrate that any deductions from a tenancy deposit are valid and fair, as this will form an important part of any future dispute resolution.

We always aim to resolve matters as fairly and as swiftly as possible, so the tenants can regain their funds and move on to their new property at the very earliest opportunity, with the minimum of fuss possible, and the landlord can re-let their property with the minimum amount of fuss, delay, damage or dilapidation.

If you have any questions or queries regarding this scheme, and our approach to deposit disputes in general, please get in touch with our property team on 01706 828229.

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