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Avoiding Deposit Disputes

Security or Damage Deposits are probably the biggest cause of arguments and disputes between landlords and tenants. It can sometimes come down to unreasonable expectations on both sides; but often it’s a matter of differing standards: one sees a cooker or carpet as being perfectly clean, whereas another sees the same item as being dirty. One sees a small permanent stain on rug as being unimportant, whereas the other sees the need to replace it. A good inventory, ideally professionally prepared by an independent inventory clerk, can remove some of the uncertainty as to who is right or wrong. In independent view from someone who is used to assessing standards in rental properties is usually evidence enough to settle any disputed opinion. These days, when deposits need to be protected, any dispute automatically goes to arbitration. If a good inventory is available, then that should be enough to settle the matter and the adjudicator will make an award accordingly. Landlords may not always get all they want as adjudicators take into account the age of the item and award compensation on the principles of depreciation and betterment. They may even conclude that the damage is not excessive given that a wear and tear allowance is appropriate. On the other hand, the tenant may be disappointed that they have to pay for a professional carpet or cooker clean, either of which may cost up to £100.

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