The return of deposits has long been one of the main causes of disputes between tenants & landlords.
Since 6th April 2007, deposits must be held by an independent scheme that protects the money, and arbitrates when tenants & landlords disagree about whether the deposit (or how much of it) should be returned.
It also ensures that tenants will be able to get their money back if the landlord goes bust, or cannot be contacted.
There are 2 types of tenancy deposit protection schemes available for landlords.
The first is an insurance based scheme where the landlord retains the deposit and pays a premium to the insurer. The insurance arrangement will ensure the return of the deposit to the tenant if they are entitled to it.
The second is a custodial scheme where the landlord pays the deposit into the scheme. Interest accrued by deposits will be used to pay for the running of the scheme.
Both schemes provide a free dispute resolution service, and this is where the importance of a professionally prepared inventory is vital.
The inventory should show a list of all the contents of the property including curtains, carpets, kitchen appliances and will also state the condition of walls, windows, light switches etc.
It should be checked in with the tenant at the beginning of the tenancy, and at the end when the tenant is moving out. At move out stage, the landlord should assess the condition and prepare a schedule of dilapidations (damage, missing items) taking into account any general wear and tear.
In the event of any disputes about how much deposit is to be returned, the detail of the original inventory is vital, when being assessed by the dispute resolution service.
If you need any advice on preparing a professional inventory, or have any questions about tenant’s deposit, please call the Merrick Binch Lettings Team on 02476 578888.