Recent figures from the Tenant Deposit Scheme (TDS) have shown that it is in fact cleanliness, or lack of it, is causing the majority of deposit disputes. A huge 58% of disputes are as a result of the rented property not being cleaned before the tenant leaves. Landlords must remember that the burden of evidence lies with them; in other words, it is up to the landlord to prove that the property is less clean at the end of the tenancy than it was at the beginning and a lack of such evidence will lead to the tenant getting their deposit back if the case goes to arbitration.
The only way a landlord can do this, is by completing a comprehensive inventory at the start of every tenancy, clearly detailing the condition, and cleanliness of the property itself as well as things like ovens, dishwashers, bathrooms, carpets and flooring. Good quality colour photographs are the best way of showing the condition of a property should the need arise to prove it.
AC Forscutt, Head of Compliance with Northwood commented
“Unfortunately landlords and agents have a poor record in winning tenant dispute cases and it tends to come down to a lack of evidence. It is essential that the inventory accurately describes the cleanliness of the property and that photos show the condition. In fact, most of the work required to put forward a successful deposit claim can be done at the beginning of the tenancy when the inventory is produced. Landlords must also remember to take comprehensive photographs that can be compared to photos taken at the check-out and used as evidence in the case of a deposit dispute,”
Having a comprehensive inventory and schedule of condition drawn up not only protects the landlord in the event of a dispute, it also makes clear right from the start of the tenancy what is expected from both the tenant and landlord. Having these in place can help avoid disagreements in the first place. For further clarification Northwood has a produced a Fair wear and tear guide which clearly demystifies how the relevant calculations are made.
For new landlords, those that may not understand exactly what is needed, or those that just don’t have the time to involve themselves in the complexities, Northwood offer various levels of lettings services that can include taking care of thorough inventories and regular checks.
Northwood is one of the largest and most recognised estate agents in the U.K. and the leading supplier of Guaranteed Rent to give landlords complete peace of mind.
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