Cleaning continues to dominate tenancy deposit disputes, but disputes over rent arrears have soared by 90%, according to the latest figures from the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS).
Cleaning has been the most common dispute in cases brought to the TDS and, in 2015-16, it accounted for 57% of cases, down by just 1% year-on-year.
However, disputes over rent arrears showed a significant increase, soaring from 10% to 19% on an annual basis.
The second most common cause of disputes is damage to a property (51%), followed by redecoration (32%) and gardening (16%).
The least expensive claim in 2015-16 was for a broken wine glass, at £10, while the most expensive amounted to £18,250.
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According to Imfuna, the developer and provider of digital inventory report app Imfuna Let, landlords and letting agents are increasingly facing challenging times, with rising rent arrears and dirty and damaged properties at check-out.
The Founder and CEO of Imfuna, Jax Kneppers, says: “Landlords and agents need to ensure they make regular inspections of a property to check its conditions and raise any issues with the tenant. If landlords and agents fail to visit the property during the tenancy, they could be in for a nasty surprise at check-out.
“At the start of the tenancy, landlords and agents should give tenants a thorough and professional inventory, which clearly records the condition of the property and its contents. Tenants should be made aware that it is their responsibility to leave the property as clean as when they took on the property, and if any damage is incurred during the tenancy, the landlord or agent should be alerted immediately.”
He continues: “It is vital that landlords and agents do a thorough check-in and check-out so they have the necessary proof of condition at the start and end of a new tenancy agreement. If agents and landlords wish to make deductions for cleaning costs, they need to be able to prove that there was a change in condition from the start to the end of a tenancy in order to prove deductions are warranted.”
Marie Brooks, of Monks Estate and Letting Agents, also comments: “Providing a professional inventory report for every tenancy is essential in ensuring deposit disputes are a rare occurrence. When a detailed and thorough record of a property and its contents are provided at the beginning of a tenancy, there can be no doubt as to the amount of damage that has taken place when compared to the condition of the same at the end of a tenancy. In our experience, inventory reports have reduced tenant and landlord disputes to a great degree.”