More landlords are winning deposit disputes

Landlords and letting agents are increasingly winning deposit disputes for the first time since their introduction in 2007, according to research.

The Tenant Deposit Scheme (TDS) says that last year nearly 20% of deposit disputes raised by landlords saw a 100% pay-out to them whereas 20% of deposit disputes raised by tenants saw them receiving a full pay-out.

The remaining 60% of disputes saw the deposit being shared between landlord and tenant.

That’s a slightly better result than was seen in previous years when tenants generally were awarded the full deposit more often than landlords were.

One big reason for the increase in landlords being successful in claiming the deposit to cover repair costs is the growing popularity of having documented information for adjudication.

Landlords are increasingly using digital inventories

 

Indeed, letting agents and landlords are increasingly using digital inventories and increasing the number of mid-term inspections which is helping the balance shift in favour of landlords.

It’s crucial that landlords record properly the condition of their property when a tenant moves in and provides a comprehensive inventory which also states the condition of furnishings and fittings. There should also be a thorough checkout report conducted too.

The chief executive of Imfuna, Jax Kneppers, said: “Unless agents and landlords have an inventory they are at risk of expensive repair bills and disputes.

“Our research shows that agents and landlords who switch from analogue to digital inventories see their tenant deposit disputes fall by more than 300% and their adjudication success rate rise by 75%, on average.”

One in five tenants do not have smoke alarms

 

Meanwhile, despite the fact it is now law for landlords to have smoke alarms in their properties, a surveys reveals that one in five private rented homes do not have a working smoke alarm.

That compares with 88% of homeowners owning at least one working smoke alarm, according to the English Housing Survey.

Apparently, over the last 10 years, the proportion of local authority tenants and owner occupiers with an alarm has risen but the same cannot be said for tenants in private rented homes.

Landlords have been required by law since last October to fit a working smoke alarm on each floor of their property and if there is a solid fuel heater in the home there must also be a carbon monoxide alarm fitted too. Failure to do so could see the landlord being fined £5,000.

A spokesman for the Fire Brigades Union said: “It’s vital that every UK home has a smoke alarm fitted and there’s no excuse for a home not to have one since they are cheap to buy and easy to fit.”

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