Recently we worked on recovering a large deposit for a renter in our Ongoing Support program.
The case highlights (among other things) the crucial role that evidence (usually in the form of paperwork) can play in deciding who prevails where there’s a dispute over deductions that can be made by a Landlord for alleged damage to the home.
The Landlord in this case tried to hold on to £800 (of a £9,000 deposit) on the basis that the kitchen walls had been damaged.
We pointed out to the Landlord the fact that the inventory check-in report said the walls were marked when the renter moved in.
We added that, in any event, the £800 claimed was excessive. In an effort to dispose of the matter amicably for our client (the renter’s Employer), we offered £200.
Fortunately the deposit was protected by the Deposit Protection Service (DPS).
The Landlord ignored our offer and tried to get the DPS to send her £800.
We objected and the DPS sent the dispute to be ruled on by an adjudicator. Both parties were asked to make written submissions. We made a robust submission supported by documentation that included the inventory check-in and checkout reports. The waters were muddied by the Landlord reaching out behind out backs to the inventory checkout provider, who consequently went back to the property days after the actual checkout.
As a result of that further visit, the inventory checkout provider was persuaded to provide a further report that was more favourable to the Landlord’s position. We, for the Tenant, pointed out that this was improper and we suggested that the second checkout report should be ignored.
The adjudicator agreed with us and ruled that the Landlord was only entitled to make a deduction of £25 from the deposit instead of the £200 which we had offered for an amicable settlement.
Our tips for renters that arise from this experience are: