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Tenant Fees Ban comes into force from 1 June 2019

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Today the government announced that the Tenant Fees Bill will come into force in England on 1 June 2019. Following today’s Third Reading in the House of Lords, the Bill is likely to receive Royal Assent in the coming weeks. Read More...

Line-up announced for ARLA Propertymark Conference 2019

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Just when you thought this year's ARLA Propertymark Conference couldn't get any bigger, we've added even more incredible industry names to the line-up. Read More...

TDS appoint independent complaints reviewer in first for sector

09 January 2019

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), the private rented sector’s longest establish deposit protection scheme, has appointed Margaret Doyle as its new external Independent Complaints Reviewer, the first in its industry to do so. Read More...

Replace or repair? A deposit adjudication case study

Monday 10 December 2018

Tenancy Deposit Scheme’s (TDS) Assistant Director of Dispute Resolution, Sandy Bastin, looks at a recent case where both sides of the dispute disagreed on whether the deduction should be for replacement or repairs.

Interpretation of the levels of cleanliness or damage to a property can be different between parties at the end of a tenancy, and so can deduction amounts.  

As well as protecting tenancy deposits, TDS also provides a free and impartial adjudication service for occasions when deductions cannot be agreed between the parties.

In this example, the landlord’s claim was for £720.00 for a replacement front door and for repairs to the plaster of an adjoining wall. A quote was, however, provided for both replacement and repair.

The fact that the damage occurred during the tenancy or that there was in fact damage was not disputed by the tenant, but the value the landlord wanted to deduct to make good was. The tenant argued that £720.00 for repairs was excessive.

The check-in report did not clearly identify the condition of the front door or its frame at the start of the tenancy or provide any detail as to when the adjoining walls were last painted.

Although the doorway and adjoining walls would have sustained some deterioration in condition during the one-year tenancy in any event due to natural wear and tear, the adjudicator considered that the extent of the actual damage was over and above what would usually be expected.

The adjudicator agreed that the landlord was justified to make a claim on the deposit to remedy the damage done. However, there was evidence that supported the tenant’s claim that the door could be repaired to its previous condition, rather than requiring a full replacement. 

As a result, the adjudicator ruled that the tenant was liable for remedying the damage, but that the door could be repaired rather than replaced and awarded a split in the deposit with £370 going to the tenant and £350 to the landlord.

When making a claim, landlords and agents need to make sure they claim the most appropriate remedy. If damage can be repaired, it’s unlikely that the cost to replace an item will be awarded.

To back-up claims and valuations, landlords and letting agents should provide quotes or invoices to substantiate claims. A tenant who finds a claim to be excessive can obtain their own quote to show what the appropriate solution, and cost involved, should be.

A landlord is not able to charge the tenants the full cost of returning items to the condition they were in at the start of the tenancy, or to replace items on a “new for old” basis. This is because a landlord is not entitled to be placed in a better position, either materially or financially, at the end of a tenancy than at the start – even where a tenant has admitted to causing the damage.

Further advice on deposits, deductions and disputes is available at: www.tenancydepositscheme.com.