When renting out a property, most landlords choose to take a deposit from their tenant prior to the tenancy starting. The deposit gives a level of protection to landlords and means that should the tenant breach the terms of the Tenancy Agreement (like causing damage or not paying rent) then you can make appropriate deductions from the deposit.
Our latest guide Rules of Claiming for Deposit Deductions has been written by mydeposits Head of Dispute Resolution Suzy Hershman based on her unrivalled experience in dealing with deposit disputes and from carrying out adjudication workshops:
“I’ve resolved deposit disputes for over 7 years and the same reasons for deductions come up time and time again. I wanted to write this guide to highlight common reasons for disputes and offer some tips to help with negotiation at any stage during the tenancy and to prevent issues becoming a formal dispute at the end of the tenancy.”
What you can claim for
The circumstances where all or part of the deposit may be retained should be clearly explained in the Tenancy Agreement which is signed by both you and the tenant at the start of the tenancy. Our guide on what to include in your Tenancy Agreement gives details on the areas to be considered, but in a broad sense you can claim for:
- Outstanding rent
- General Maintenance
- Repairs required to the property beyond what is deemed to be fair wear and tear
What you can’t claim for
Remember, the deposit is the tenant’s money and in the event of a dispute, there are certain things you can’t claim for:
- More than the deposit amount – The Scheme’s remit is limited to the protected amount If you want to claim for more than the deposit value then you would have to pursue the tenant through the Court system
- Costs related to the preparation of a dispute – It’s not possible to claim for any time you spend gathering and submitting evidence to the dispute process
- Betterment – You can only claim for an amount that would put the property back in the same, and not better condition than it was originally
- Fair wear and tear – Your calculations must take into account the length of the tenancy, the age and quality of items/areas, its condition at the start and the number and type of occupants
Understanding what you can and can’t claim for will help if a dispute does occur and should help you to feel more assured when calculating any necessary deductions from the deposit.
For example, it’s up to you as the landlord or agent to prove that there is a valid reason for a carpet clean because of a wine stain by providing evidence such as photographs, cleaning receipts and quotes to prove that your claim(s) are fair and proportionate.
Our latest guide not only goes into more detail about what you can and can’t claim for, but also looks at some of the most common dispute issues and top tips when claiming, some of the common pitfalls landlords make when lodging claims, and provides a quick run-down on the evidence which can support your claim.
Download our latest guide Rules of Claiming for Deposit Deductions here.