Cleaning causes the most letting deposit disputes - how can you avoid one?

Cleaning causes the most letting deposit disputes - how can you avoid one?

Cleaning causes the most letting deposit disputes - how can you avoid one?

We might be in the middle of a global pandemic but, as letting agents in Hackney we can tell you that there are some things that never change when it comes to landlord and tenant relationships: deposit issues over cleaning. Deposit disputes can cause a lot of tension at the end of a contract - something that an experienced letting agent like Storeys can help to avoid. Newly released data has revealed that cleaning remains the biggest cause of problems when it comes to end of tenancy deposit return. But what can landlords and tenants do to try to avoid this issue?

And the survey says..

The data comes from The Dispute Service, which identified cleaning as the main source of disputes in 42% of cases. Damage came a close second, followed by the need for redecoration, gardening issues and then getting behind with the rent. In the year to March 2020 there were almost 35,000 disputes raised - while this figure seems high it was actually a drop of around 500 from the year before even though there was an increase in the number of deposits being taken.

Taking the disputes issue seriously

One interesting statistic in The Dispute Service's figures was the spike in the number of tenants raising deposit disputes. As Hackney letting agents, we've helped to work through plenty of disagreements about deposits - with both landlords and tenants now clearly confident in raising disputes there's no room now for the issue not to be taken seriously. So, what's necessary to avoid a dispute situation?

  • Ensure check in and check out inventories are carried out. This is really the only way to make sure that there is a proper record of the state of the property at the start and end of the tenancy. We've been letting agents in Hackney for years and always recommend using video and photos as well as full descriptions of the property and contents. Both landlords and tenants benefit from being meticulous about this part of the process.
  • Tenants should be present during inventories. Where disputes end up in court, if tenants weren't present during the inventories then there is little chance of landlords succeeding. Equally, for tenants looking to ensure that inventories are accurate and avoid the dispute process it's better to be present and proactive during the process.
  • Make sure the tenancy agreement is clearly worded. Often where disputes arise over cleaning it's because tenants say that they didn't know what was expected of them in terms of keeping the property clean. A transparent and easy to understand tenancy agreement makes this much more straightforward, both in terms of the obligations themselves and resolving disputes that might arise from them.
  • All correspondence and documentation should be kept for the records. Whether that is receipts for deductions or correspondence about cleaning, all documentation should be carefully kept so that there is clear evidence of how the relationship progressed. If there is no deposit dispute this can be destroyed after the agreement comes to an end.

Many of the issues of deposit disputes can be avoided simply by working with the professionals - Storeys is a Hackney letting agent with a wealth of experience in preserving good relationships between landlords and tenants. However, if you're going it alone then there are still lots of opportunities to avoid the dreaded dispute - clear records, robust inventories and a transparent tenancy agreement make a great start.


Residential lettings
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