How To Minimise Deposit Disputes
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How To Minimise Deposit Disputes

When tenancies come to an end, there are sometimes disagreements between the tenant and the landlord regarding the deposit. If your deposit was paid after 6th April 2007 then it will be protected by the landlord in a secure scheme and won’t be able to be touched until the end of the agreement.

Deposit deductions are historically proven to cause friction. 20% of tenants who lost some of their deposit feel it was unreasonable. A huge 30% of tenancies end with some amount deducted from their deposit, out of which 13% lost the entire amount.

Some common reasons for deductions:
• Rent that hasn’t been paid
• Any bills that haven’t been settled
• Stolen or misplaced belongings
• Any direct damage to the property or its contents
• Lack of maintenance.

Of course, this is subjective to each individual contract, but honesty is the best policy. If you have broken something, it is always the better option to just be open about it. Inform your landlord and in most cases, they will understand and organise it to be taken care of.

Be thankful for your inventory report! Having your inventory report during the process of sorting out your deposit will make everyone’s life so much easier. You will have two inventory checks during your tenancy, one at the beginning and one before you move out. The report is a thoroughly detailed list that states the condition and contents of the property. Once the two checks have been completed, then it is very easy to see if there are any changes that need to be accounted for. This document will either cover your back or it will be used to prove you, in fact, did misplace or break something. Either way, necessary for both parties.

Other documents to keep hold of:
• Tenancy agreement
• Payment proof of deposit
• The full inventory including photographs, all dated.

The best ways to avoid deposit deductions is to try and get the property back to the standard it was in when you moved in. For big repairs, contact your landlord, but smaller fixes that can be done by yourself will increase your chances in receiving the deposit back.

Make sure to-
• Pay all outstanding bills
• Replace any broken lightbulbs
• Fix and fill any holes, scratches and paint any touch-ups that are required
• Have a gardening session
• Check all drains are functioning.

Once the deposit has been requested, the landlord has 10 days to reply and open the discussion about any deductions. After you’ve been sent the deduction report, this is your time to query and discuss further.

Be fair and approve the deductions that make sense. If there are things on there that you might disagree with, then the last thing you want to do is go in all guns blazing. Try to stay calm and disprove them. Back up your points with your saved documents and photos.

Make sure these discussions are in writing. If the matter develops further, then having the proof might work in your favour. Failing coming to an agreement, speak with your deposit protection scheme for advice. Often, they will be able to highlight useful laws that can provide more guidance, hopefully winning your case.