New figures have indicated that 2015 saw the highest number of tenancy deposit disputes reach court since records began in 2008.
What’s more, further data from the TDS report shows that cleaning and damage were most common reasons for a dispute, accounting for 58% and 52% of claims respectively. More and more landlords are having to claim on their landlords insurance as a result.
The table below indicates how adjudications measured by the TDS have risen over time:
With this in mind, follow these five tips in order to prevent your tenancy agreements ending in disputes!
Realise the importance of inventories-An inventory is arguably the most important document you can have when looking to dispel the threat of disputes. A professionally produced inventory, with photographic and written evidence, is imperative. Take photographs of all relevant features and sign and date when the information was recorded. All evidence should be noted in detail at the start of new tenancies.
Check the check-in-Make sure you carry out a full check-in at the beginning of all tenancies and that you, the tenant and letting agent (if necessary) are present. This document should be seen and agreed to by all parties, following any amendments or further requirements have been dealt with. Also ensure that the tenant is present at the check-out, when damage or cleaning problems can be sorted.
Be fit and proper(ty)- This sounds obvious, but make sure that your property is fit for letting before you advertise. All fittings and features should be installed, and property should be in a clean and tidy condition, both inside and out. Show the tenant common areas for cleaning issues, such as the oven, fridge and cupboards. By showing them that these areas are clean and by noting this in an inventory, the chances of disputes at the conclusion of a tenancy are highly doubtful.
Make mid-term checks-Always carry out regular checks on your investment property. This way, you can keep a better log of damage or maintenance issues and can show your tenants you are approachable and committed. However, be sure to give your tenants space and inform them well in advance of your visit.
Communication is key-Keeping in regular contact with your tenants is important. This way, you will be able to find out about any problems as and when they happen. As a result, your property will be kept in a better condition and there will be less of a chance that your rent guarantee insurance will be needed!