The Deposit Protection Scheme (DPS) still have a backlog of dispute decisions to make. Though they won’t comment on how long it will take to catch up, we understand they are still over 6 weeks behind.
We reported on this back in November following a report by mortgage lender Nationwide that blamed landlords and agents for the 3-month wait some tenants face to get their deposits back. Closer inspection of the report by ARLA and Property Industry Eye found that disputes – and wrongful disputes – might be the real cause for delays.
When talking with the DPS, McCartan Lettings discovered an error with the DPS system meant landlords and agents were being forced to submit deposits for alternative dispute resolution (ADR), even if an agreement on deductions had been reached. Combined with having to adjudicate on wrongful claims as well as legitimate ones, this had created a backlog.
Reaching Agreements on Deposit Deductions
ADR exists to offer an independent, professional opinion on a deposit dispute – not to offer judgement on something landlords and tenants have already agreed upon privately or with the help of an agent.
In many cases, disputes arise over differing definitions of what constitutes “fair” wear and tear, and over apportionment.
Having a good understanding of the factors involved and the lifespan of the items in question can help reduce disputes.
Deposit Deductions aren’t Inevitable
Despite what the news would have you believe, deposit deductions aren’t inevitable.
Tenants can refer to their inventory check in report and use it as a guide as to how the property should be returned.
Cleanliness is the only thing within a rental property that isn’t considered to have a lifespan, so making sure the property is as clean when you leave as when you arrived is key.
All of your possessions will need to have been removed, as well as any rubbish. If the property was let furnished or part-furnished, try to put everything back where it originally was (or at least in the same room it originally was).
If you’ve caused any damage during your tenancy, you’ll need to make good on it, and if you have any pets, you’ll need to ensure you have the carpets professionally cleaned.