As an agent, understanding and managing your landlords’ expectations of their tenants and property is a necessary and sometimes difficult task. Throughout the tenancy, the vast majority of landlords act very reasonably, and at the end often pay for cleaning or redecoration, demonstrating why many have never been involved in a deposit dispute.
However there are a small minority of landlords and tenants who are unaware of the fundamentals of deposit protection and may act unreasonably at the end of the tenancy. This is where you the Agent, can be effective.
As an agent, you can act as a facilitator by looking at the position of both parties to find an agreeable solution to any issues that arise throughout the tenancy. By guiding your landlord through their obligations and offering them some advice from the outset, you can help to avoid issues becoming a potential dispute at the end. So, what should you make sure your landlord does at the start of a tenancy?
The importance of good documentation
It’s a fact that deposit disputes can be won and lost at the start of the tenancy. So you should make sure that your landlord client has the following;
A signed comprehensive tenancy agreement listing all the obligations of both the tenant and landlord.
A detailed and descriptive Inventory and Schedule of Condition on both the cleanliness and condition of the property and its contents (supported withphotographic evidence, which is best practice.)
This means that, in the event of a dispute, your landlord and an adjudicator who assesses the case can clearly see exactly how each area of the property was given to the tenant and in what condition it is expected to be returned in at the end.
Fair wear and tear
“The depreciation in the condition of the property due to normal use, over the entire length of the tenancy” is how Suzy Hershman, Head Adjudicator at mydeposits, describes it. However the concept can be confusing, so it’s important that you, as the agent, explain the criteria to your landlord client so any proposed deduction can be considered before approaching the tenant.
Sending the landlords guidance on fair wear and tear ensures the landlord is well informed and, at the end of the tenancy, should be more understanding and willing to negotiate with the tenant on compensation for any deterioration or damage to the property.
It’s important to encourage your landlord to have a sense of what is reasonable. For example, if the landlord has lived in the property, prior to letting, there may be an emotional attachment and his view of its condition may be slightly ‘rose-tinted’.
Make them aware of the property’s true condition at the time the check-in Inventory is carried out so they are more understanding at the end of the tenancy.
During and at the end of the tenancy
There are a number areas that you need to cover during and at the end of the tenancy including; mid-term inspections, following up on maintenance issues and final inspections. For more information on what to make your landlord clients aware of during the tenancy,