When it comes to tenancy deposit disputes, it is preferable to resolve the dispute as early as possible to avoid time and costs involved in court action – especially with low value and/or one issue claims.
As an impartial intermediary, TDS often assist with resolving disputes quickly, avoiding the need for formal adjudication by contacting the parties to see if a resolution can be agreed.
Landlords and letting agents may find it useful to learn how disputes have been resolved early as it could help them preempt or avoid tenancy deposit disputes altogether.
Here are some recent examples of early resolution successes through the TDS Custodial and TDS Insured tenancy deposit protection schemes:
A dispute was raised by the tenant as the landlord wished to make a claim against the deposit for rent arrears, due to lack of notice being given by the tenant to end the tenancy.
The tenant said that their fixed term contract had come to an end with the agreement having become a statutory period tenancy.
The tenant gave one months’ notice, in line with the rent due date to vacate.
However, the landlord believed that the tenant should have given two months’ notice to end the tenancy as opposed to one months’ notice.
TDS reviewed the tenant’s submission and determined that the tenancy was indeed a statutory periodic and that correct notice had been given by the tenant.
TDS made a call to the landlord, who accepted that there had been a misunderstanding and agreed to release the tenants deposit.
A claim for rent arrears exceeding the deposit amount along with some minor damage claims were raised by the landlord.
On reviewing the evidence submission, the tenant did not dispute that rent was owed; the issue was that the tenant would not agree to release the deposit for the owed rent until their belongings, which were left in the property, were returned.
A quick call to the landlord, who advised that the tenants belongings were stored in an outside area and were available for collection, resulted in the tenant arranging to collect their belongings that day and agreeing to release the deposit to the landlord.
A low value cleaning claim was disputed by a tenant.
Given the low value of the claim, TDS called the agent (prior to the agent being aware of the dispute raised and before inviting the agent to submit evidence), which resulted in the parties reaching a 50/50 agreement.
Often, as these examples show, a call from an independent and knowledgeable third-party intermediary like TDS can help resolve issues quickly and avoid further action and costs.
If a dispute is raised with TDS, we are happy to facilitate discussion between parties to reach an agreement about the deposit, including guidance on cleaning charges and our approach to dealing with any damaged items.
Sandy Bastin is head of dispute resolution at TDS.