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Tips for TDS Disputes from the DPS

Tenancy Deposit Scheme disputes

Tenancy deposit disputes are a messy business, so we asked the UK’s biggest TDS scheme, the Deposit Protection Scheme (DPS), if they had any tips to avoid a dispute.

Their response was to say –

The Deposit Protection Service protects deposits on behalf of 35,000 letting agents and 390,000 private landlords – and while dispute levels are extremely low, we’ve seen a thing or two along the way! Our top tips for a trouble-free tenancy are:

Check out your tenant before you check them in!

There are lots of cheap and simple options for tenant referencing available – a bit of work up front could save a lot of hassle further down the line. This doesn’t necessarily guarantee a trouble free tenancy as circumstances change and a tenant could fall on hard times or be made redundant through no fault of their own; but it will give you a head start.

Have a good tenancy agreement in place

Would you believe it, we still see disputes between landlord and tenant where there is no tenancy agreement in place. Landlords, it’ll be very difficult for you to make any claim on the deposit without a good, signed, tenancy agreement.

Make sure there’s a well prepared property inventory on Day One!

We see a number of disputes where the landlord wants to claim for a dishwasher or sofa that’s ‘gone missing’ – but without a professional inventory and schedule of condition report to prove it was there in the first place, their case is difficult to prove. An inventory should be conducted with the tenant, either by the landlord or agent or an inventory company and signed by all parties. The same should be done on departure. Signed, dated photos are key!

Talk to your tenant.

A good channel of communication can stop all kinds of issues arising. Knowing when your tenant is planning to move out and starting the repayment process in good time means that the tenant can have their deposit back quickly which will make them happy – or will alert you to potential problems before the tenant moves out, giving you time to gather evidence for a deposit claim. One of the most common issues between landlord and tenant is incorrect contact details – if one party changes their email address or phone number and doesn’t update the other party – or us – then reclaiming a deposit can take longer than necessary.

Have a look at the Deposit Protection Schemes landlord checklist here for more help and advice.

For more advice on tenancy deposits and all aspects of letting property legally visit our landlord forum.

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