Deposit Disputes 1st Apr 2017

Recent research by the Tenant Deposit Scheme (TDS) has found that disputes over rent arrears has risen by a whopping 90% - from 10% to 19% year on year.

Cleaning continues to be the most common dispute – accounting for 57% of cases in 2015-16. Damage to property is the second most common at 51%, followed by redecoration at 32% and gardening at 16%. TDS found that the least expensive claim in 2015-2016 was for a broken wine glass at £10, and the most expensive claim amounted to £18,250.

Further research by SafeDeposits Scotland found that over the last year deductions were taken from 1 in 4 tenants, however almost all successfully claimed the money back, with 98% of deductions returned to tenants without the need to go to adjudication, where deductions had been agreed by landlord and tenant. Conducted using data from a total of 83,812 deposit repayments made in Inverness, Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Stirling, Glasgow and Dumfries, the survey also discovered significant differences around Scotland regarding the reasons for deductions being made from deposits. Again reasons for withholding money included rent arrears, cleaning issues, redecoration, garden upkeep and general damage. For general damage, Edinburgh renters were most likely to look after properties with only 7.85% of deposits seeing a reduction at the end of the tenancy.

It remains as important as ever that landlords agree to the preparation of a detailed inventory, evidencing the condition of the property and contents in full at the start of the tenancy. If landlords want to try and retain money from the deposit at the end of the tenancy, they will have to prove that there was a change in condition from the start to the end of the tenancy.

Given the statistics surrounding rent arrears, it is equally important to have a stringent process in place for dealing with this. The Key Place is persistent in chasing rent arrears and will work with tenants to resolve any issues. There is regular contact (1 day, 7 days, 14 days, 21 days, 30 days, 45 days, 60 days late) with the tenant via emails, texts and phonecalls in order to seek payment. Visits will be made to the property to ensure the tenant is still there and to discuss payment. If non payment continues and issues cannot be resolved then Notice to Quit may have to be issued, which is the document a landlord has to give tenants in order to end their tenancy agreement. Eviction law in Scotland is a very complex process. Every step in the procedure must be done perfectly, or court action will fail. The Key place has experience of dealing with this matter, and will act on behalf of our fully managed landlords.