The Housing Act 2004 introduced, from 6th April 2007, Tenancy Deposit Protection so that in the event of a dispute between landlord and tenant it is essential to have an agreed accurate inventory to catalogue any damages or deficiencies to a residential let property during the course of a tenancy.
The Tenant Deposit Scheme highlighted in its report that “inventories are often absent or insufficiently thorough”. Accurate inventories often prevent the need for adjudication in the first place, and allow prompt resolution of any dispute. You can find more information here.
Case Study taken from TDS website – Resolving Deposit Disputes
After analysing a random selection of the many disputes adjudicated by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, it clearly shows the need for independent adjudication and proper inventory and condition reports.
These are the tools that separate the mountains from the molehills of deposit disputes. Independent adjudication takes the heat out of disputes that can be over very small amounts. Adjudication also dramatically underlines the advantage of proper inventories that have been checked at both the beginning and end of every tenancy, especially where larger sums of money may be involved.
“The completely random selection of examples from our caseload since we went live in 2004 shows that truly all human life is to be found in the private rented sector” said Lawrence Greenberg, Chief Executive of The Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
Lawrence Greenberg admits that some disputes could be described as banal, but “They are important to the people involved and can colour their attitude to renting. A tenant who feels he has been cheated out of his deposit is going to talk about it much more than one who recognises he has been treated fairly”.
Lawrence Greenberg also points out that the difference between fair wear and tear and damage or the reinstatement of an alteration made for logical reasons may not always be as it seems.
“It is never simple and sometimes awards have to take account of a lack of documentary evidence like photographs. Sometimes apparent damage or poor condition is no more than the result of normal wear and tear.
However, in all the cases, with the benefit of hindsight it is easy to spot where the molehill became a mountain.”
“Good inventory and condition reports often help to remove that mountain from the problem.”