Taking a deposit dispute to adjudication

Tenants who disagree with a landlord keeping a deposit when they leave a property can opt to take the dispute to independent resolution through a free adjudication service.

Each tenancy deposit protection scheme has a resolution service – and all have agreed to decide cases from a single set of guidelines.

This should mean that whatever deposit protection scheme makes a ruling, the result should be similar to the decision one of the other adjudicators would have made.

Tips for handling a deposit adjudication

Going to free independent resolution lets landlords and tenants sort out their issues without lengthy and expensive court action.

Here are some important points to consider about alternative dispute resolution (ADR) for landlords:

  • If a tenant disputes keeping all or part of a deposit, then treat the case as if you have to explain your actions to an adjudicator from the start.
  • All the adjudication schemes suggest landlords and tenants should make an effort to come to an agreement before invoking independent resolution, so never ignore a complaint from a tenant.
  • You won’t have to give evidence – the adjudicator will call for a statement from both sides to help make a decision.
  • Your statement should include evidence to show why the tenant breach the terms of their tenancy agreement and why you kept all or some of the deposit – for instance if the cleaning bill came to £125 and you kept a £550 deposit, you need to show why you retained the extra.

Why inventories are so important

All the dispute resolution services and the Financial Ombudsman state again and again that the deciding factor in most cases they consider is the opening inventory.

Every tenant should have a moving in inventory that clearly shows the condition of the property on takeover – and the tenant should agree and sign the inventory.

Tips for taking an inventory [Opens in new window]