Important Note for Landlords regarding the handling of Deposit retentions.
On occasions Landlords, can misinterpret the way check-outs and deposit retentions can be progressed at the end of a Tenancy.
Retaining a deposit is not as simple as it appears. Deposits are now required to be handled in a sympathetic manner, considering “fair wear and tear” during the term of the Tenancy dependent on the length of the Tenants’ occupancy, which requires us to be accurate in the way we handle Deposits on behalf of our Landlords and Tenants.
Landlords should be realistic about the amount of deposit retention that can achieved as not only do we require the Tenants’ agreement to retain all or part of a deposit, but there are very strict guidelines as to what is acceptable should things progress to a dispute.
When a Tenancy comes to an end and the Tenant vacates a property, Phillips will instruct an Independent Inventory Clerk to prepare a check out report to identify any issues at the property, making an allowance for “fair wear and tear” and compare the condition with the comprehensive check in report and inventory held on file. The Independent Clerk will allocate an appropriate value, for any deficiencies, defects and damage found.
The amount recommended for retention will be listed against each item of defect or damage by the Independent checkout clerk and will be allocated an appropriate amount, based on a commercial contractor rate who can undertake the work at short notice.
If a Tenant does not agree with the amount of the retention proposed, there is an option for arbitration via the DPS scheme at ‘no cost’, where both sides provide evidence to prove their case. Because we use an Independent checkout clerk and full photographic Inventories, Phillips generally win arbitration cases over deposits.
If the retention remains in dispute, then Phillips can pursue a retention through the Small-Claims Court on behalf of the Landlord at an additional Court cost fee of approximately £150 which we will allocate to the Tenant. This final and last resort procedure takes up a considerable amount of administration and time, which we will also claim from the Tenant.
As outlined the retention of deposits can be a complicated process and Landlords should consider that they may have to also assist towards the costs of minor repairs and basic cleaning at the end of each tenancy.