Whether the deposit was protected with the DPS, TDS or any of the other deposit schemes the underlying principle is the same: The deposit money belongs to the tenant. Following on this principle the landlord needs to prove that he is entitled to some of this money.
The process by which the claim is evaluated and a decision is made is called ‘adjudication’. Each deposit scheme has its own team of adjudicators which will look at the evidence provided and make a decision. The key for landlords is to provide the strongest possible evidence to support their claim.
Here are some key pointers when submitting a deposit claim:
- Provide a copy of the Tenancy Agreement – This has to state clearly what the deposit can be used for.
- Provide a copy of the Check-In Inventory – This must be a comprehensive and detailed schedule of condition, ideally with video or photographic evidence, compiled by an independent professional and signed by the tenants.
- Provide a copy of the Check-Out Report – This must highlight the discrepancies that were found after the tenants moved out. Again an independently compiled report with strong visual evidence will bear much more weight in front of the adjudicator.
- Provide copy of invoices and quotes – Showing the work that was done to restore the property to its original condition. In addition, invoices of work carried out and items bought before the tenancy started will also help (i.e. invoice for new carpets fitted before tenancy started).
- Remember to account for ‘fair wear and tear’ – Items have a life expectancy. Do account for this in your claim. For example, a brand new carpet of average quality is expected to last around 6 years.
- Remember the principle of ‘betterment’ – On the said carpet, if it was rendered unfit for purpose after 2 years and you had to replace it with a new one, you cannot claim the full replacement cost. More on this on next month’s article….
It is also very important to remember that adjudicator’s decisions are final. Therefore it is critical to ensure your claim is well presented and compelling.
If you need any help with a deposit dispute please contact us for a free no-obligation chat.