30 October 2009
mydeposits.co.uk, a Government-approved tenancy deposit protection scheme, has revealed growing numbers of landlords and letting agents are using video footage as evidence in tenancy deposit dispute cases.
mydeposits.co.uk’s online dispute service* is now receiving up to five pieces of video evidence a week, a figure which is rising as landlords and letting agents realise that clear evidence must be produced if they wish to withhold all or part of a deposit at the end of a tenancy.
By law, the starting point for dispute resolution is that the deposit money belongs to the tenant, not the landlord. To retain all or part of the deposit the landlord must provide evidence for any damage or other costs. When tenancy deposit legislation came into effect, many landlords and agents failed to provide the necessary evidence and consequently lost out in disputes.
As more landlords get to grips with the dispute process some are now turning to video footage, finding it an effective way to prove a property’s condition at the beginning and end of tenancy. “It makes tenants realise you are professional and in turn I’ve found that tenants are more likely to look after the property,” added a Bournemouth landlord.
Eddie Hooker, Chief Executive, mydeposits.co.uk, said:
“It is no bad thing that landlords are trying to provide the most detailed evidence they can. A well put together video can really enhance the check in and check out process. It lets both parties know exactly where they stand and helps prevent disputes However, although video footage may prove useful it isn’t a foolproof method. It shouldn’t replace other important forms of evidence such as inventories, photographs, receipts and correspondence.
“It is also worth remembering that the overwhelming majority of tenancies end without any problems. Only 0.61 per cent of tenancies protected by mydeposits.co.uk end in dispute - a tiny proportion of the 403,146 deposits currently under protection.”
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NOTES TO EDITORS:
mydeposits is the trading name of Tenancy Deposit Solutions Limited, a company jointly owned by the National Landlords Association and HFIS plc T/A Hamilton Fraser Insurance (the Scheme Administrator) to deliver an insurance-backed tenancy deposit protection scheme under contract from Communities & Local Government. Landlords and letting agents wishing to use this scheme are required to register with the Scheme Administrator. They can find out more and register by visiting mydeposits.co.uk/">www.mydeposits.co.uk. Registered members of the Scheme are able to protect and unprotect deposits at the beginning and end of tenancies. Fees are tax-deductible. In the event of a dispute at the end of the tenancy agreement, both parties are offered access to alternative dispute resolution (ADR). This procedure will be evidence-based, relying on documentation and records.