Call for better education for landlords to avoid deposit disputes

Call for better education for landlords to avoid deposit disputes

8:15 AM, 31st August 2022, About A year ago

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The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC) says that the number of deposit disputes can be reduced through better knowledge of what counts as ‘fair wear and tear’.

They say that landlords who cannot distinguish between fair wear and tear and damage are likely to raise disputes over negligible wear.

But with appropriate knowledge, the AIIC says that fewer landlords and tenants would end up in dispute.

Daniel Evans, the chair of the AIIC, said: “Landlords and tenants must educate themselves on the differences between fair wear and tear and damage.

“Disputes that confuse the two will cause unnecessary hassle among all parties involved.”

‘Criteria for deposit deduction’

He added: “The criteria for deposit deduction must be properly understood before raising any disputes.

“The underlining rule is that deposits cannot be kept for damage caused by fair wear and tear.”

Mr Evans went on to explain that the criteria are to protect and prevent the landlord from ending up in a better financial position than they would otherwise have been.

He said: “We encourage tenants to familiarise themselves with wear and tear and report any damage they find right away.

“We also recommend landlords to make sure every tenancy agreement is accompanied by a professional inventory.”

Keep a record of their property’s original condition

The organisation says that landlords who do not keep a record of their property’s original condition when the tenancy began – and when it ended – will struggle to prove tenant damage.

The AIIC points out that relying on inventory clerks who are trained to understand fair wear and tear can protect tenants and landlords but also reduce unnecessary disputes.

The term fair wear and tear describes the deterioration of the condition of the property because of reasonable use by the tenant.

Damage caused by negligence does not fall under this criteria, but items, fittings or fixtures that have been worn through natural use would be classified as fair wear and tear.

Wear and tear of a home is assessed

When the wear and tear of a home is assessed, the average useful lifespan and expected use of an item, along with who is renting the home and the length of the tenancy are all considered.

According to Mydeposits, in 2021, rental deposit disputes between landlords and tenants amounted to a costly £27 million. This totals an average of £1,005 per tenancy.

Mr Evans insists that the amount of money that is wasted due to unnecessary deposit disputes could be reduced if a better understanding of fair wear and tear was commonplace.

He said: “Inventories are the only viable source of protection for all parties when determining if the damage is beyond fair wear and tear. These allow the issue to be easily identifiable among landlords and adjudicators.”

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