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How to Avoid Tenancy Deposit Disputes Between Landlords and Tenants

As a landlord, one of the most frustrating things that can happen is a dispute over a tenancy deposit deduction with your tenants. These disputes can be costly and time-consuming. However, with the right approach and some careful planning, many of these tenancy deposit disputes can be avoided altogether. This article explores some key strategies for avoiding tenancy deposit disputes between landlords and tenants.

Avoid Tenancy Deposit Disputes

Be as detailed as possible about tenants’ responsibilities

One of the best ways to avoid deposit disputes is to be as clear and detailed as possible about your tenants’ responsibilities. This means including all relevant terms and conditions in your tenancy agreement, such as rules around cleaning, maintenance and repairs.

You should also take the time to explain these responsibilities to your tenants, both verbally and in writing, to ensure that they fully understand what is expected of them. This means that they cannot claim ignorance when it comes to moving out if they have failed to fulfil their obligations.

Make sure your inventory is robust

Another key factor in avoiding deposit disputes is to ensure that your inventory is robust. This means taking the time to carefully document the condition of the property at the beginning of the tenancy, including photographs and written descriptions of any existing damage or wear and tear.

This will help you to identify any new damage that occurs during the tenancy and avoid disputes over who is responsible for funding the repairs.

Grade cleanliness rather than just stating whether it is clean or unclean

When it comes to cleaning, it’s important to grade the cleanliness of the property rather than just stating whether it is clean or unclean. This will help you to avoid disputes over what constitutes acceptable levels of cleanliness as it is more realistic to aim for the top end of the grades, rather than trying to achieve ‘perfect’ cleanliness.

For example, you might grade cleanliness on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being very dirty and 5 being spotless. Help the tenant understand your scale and what you deem to be admissible.

Keep an audit trail of communications with tenants

Keeping an audit trail of communications with your tenants is a key strategy for avoiding deposit disputes. This means keeping copies of all emails, letters and other correspondence, as well as notes from any phone or in-person conversations.

This will help you to demonstrate that you have communicated clearly with your tenants and avoid disputes over who said what and when.

Require professional cleaning at the end of a tenancy

Requiring professional cleaning at the end of a tenancy is another effective way to avoid deposit disputes. Include a clause in your tenancy agreement that requires tenants to hire a professional cleaner to clean the property before they move out. This will help to ensure that the property is left in a clean and tidy condition and avoid disputes over cleaning costs and whether they have done a good enough job.

Give as much detail as possible about deductions

If you do have to deduct costs from a tenancy deposit, be as detailed as possible about the reasons for the deduction. This means providing a clear breakdown of any costs and explaining why each deduction was made. This will help to avoid disputes over the amount of the deposit you are withholding.

Make a pre-check out report

Making a pre-check out report helps to give the tenant notice of fixes they can make rather than lose some of their deposit. Carrying out an inspection of the property with your tenants before they move out and document any damage or wear and tear.

Communicate with the tenant and give them the option to make the repair or to lose some of their deposit.

Outsource Property Management to Avoid Tenancy Deposit Disputes

By outsourcing property management, you ensure an attentive and professional service for your tenants. We act on your behalf to carry out maintenance, collect rent, deal with renewals and more in a way that will maintain good relations and help to avoid tenancy deposit disputes. Contact us today to find out more.


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