More work to do to stop deposit disputes, say inventory clerks

An industry body says more work must be done to reduce the number of tenancy deposit disputes, despite recent improvements.

The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks says that while dispute numbers are relatively low – 28,100 resolved by the three government-approved protection schemes in the year to March 2016, equivalent to 0.82 per cent of total deposits – further improvements can be made through an analysis of the dispute causes.

The Tenancy Deposit Service, for example, reports that cleaning features in 57 per cent of claims it handles; damage to fixtures and fittings is mentioned in 51 per cent of cases.“The issues of cleaning – or a lack of it – and damage in rental properties come up time and time again at the end of tenancies, and it’s clear that these problems are responsible for a high number deposit disputes that do occur,” says AIIC chair Patricia Barber.

“If landlords make sure tenants are issued with a detailed and thorough inventory at the beginning of the tenancy, then it’s easier for all parties to determine the condition of the property when the contract finishes” she says. This would make it easier for agents, landlords and tenants to agree on deposit deductions and so reduce disputes. 

“In the event that a deposit dispute does occur, the deposit protection schemes are likely to place more weight on inventories and check out reports that have been produced independently and professionally,” concludes Barber.