In the TDS Insured Scheme you may present a claim for a deposit dispute no earlier than 10 days and no later than three months from tenancy end.
In the 10-day period after the tenancy has ended you must make reasonable efforts to resolve deposit disputes. Without evidence of attempts between the parties to resolve the dispute, TDS may not be able to process the claim.
For the TDS Insured customers, using our Deposit Deductions Template to negotiate proposed deductions has helped to increase the success of reaching agreement, without the need to go to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). You can find a guide to the Deposit Deductions Template here.
This guide is designed to help agents and landlords, in the event of deposit deductions, present their case to a tenant in a clear and transparent way. The use of the deductions template will highlight any weaknesses in any claim(s), due to lack of supporting documentary evidence, prompting the need for further negotiation or conversely make the strength of any proposed deductions obvious.
Once satisfied that the proposed deductions are supported, you can complete the template ensuring that you are claiming the most appropriate remedy and that the amount claimed is reasonable, considers the principle of betterment and takes account of fair wear and tear. Once completed, send it to the tenant(s), who can in turn add their comments into the same form. Completing the form correctly and providing the available supporting evidence in a clear and succinct way, helps a tenant see that a claim is justified. Repayments can be made if the tenant agrees all of the deductions, or if only some of the deductions are agreed, the agreed deductions can be repaid leaving only the disputed amounts to be resolved.
In the event that agreement is not reached on all or some of the claims and a dispute comes to TDS, there is very little extra work that the agent or landlord needs to do. The details in the proposal for deposit deductions along with supporting evidence, and any comments made by the tenants, can be uploaded directly into the TDS Disputes Evidence Portal.
Using the Deposit Deductions template can help negotiate end of tenancy deposit deductions, however, if you decide not to use this tool, it is important when sending a dispute to TDS that you set out your claim against the deposit clearly and succinctly, keep it relevant, and again ensure that the claims are appropriate by way of the remedy being sought and the sums claimed are reasonable. It is also important to make sure that you submit evidence to support each claim. Similarly, when responding to either the deposit deductions template as part of end of tenancy negotiations or to TDS in the form of a Dispute Response Form, a tenant should make it clear which proposed deductions are agreed and set out clearly and succinctly the reasons why it is felt that the proposed claim is not justified.
This article highlights the importance of setting out claims in a way that will encourage early resolution and how time can be saved using the Deposit Deductions Template. In the event not all the claims can be resolved, ensure your submissions are clear, concise and supported with evidence.
If you are interested in further guidance relating to deposit disputes, visit the Information Lounge at TDS to browse further guides.
Sandy Bastin is head of dispute resolution at TDS.