Partners and Suppliers Richard Abbots 02/01/2024

The Leading Causes of Tenancy Deposit Disputes in 2023 (and how to prevent them in 2024)

The latest tenancy deposit findings have revealed the leading cause of disputes in rental properties for 2023, offering letting agents and landlords an opportunity to learn from the trends and take measures to avoid these costly claims.

The TDS has published its Statistical Briefing showing the number of tenancy disputes and the reasons behind them. Cleaning claims have topped the list (as they have in previous years), followed by damage to fixtures and fittings.

Inventory Hive, who work closely with TDS, have been using these insights and data when developing features for their inventory platform. Over the years, they’ve seen a direct correlation between good inventory reporting and reduced disputes, and their users report the same.

Detailed check-in and check-out reports don’t just provide side-by-side comparisons when reviewing the cleanliness of a property from start of tenancy to the end – they also help to clarify responsibilities for tenants. That alone is often enough to prevent claims happening at all.

Without a benchmark, especially over a long tenancy or in a shared property, it can be easy to forget what the condition of a property was when the tenants moved in. Returning that home back to its initial state is therefore muddied when it comes to cleanliness – and that’s when confusion and disputes happen.

Use digital inventory reporting to reduce disputes

Historically, inventories were paper-based, photos weren’t always included, and the detail wasn’t captured about whether the property had been professionally cleaned, or to what standard. Today, however, most property managers utilise digital apps and platforms to collate all the information required to prove the condition or provide evidence if needed.

In fact, it’s so easy to carry out comprehensive inventory reports now, there’s little reason why a landlord or letting agent wouldn’t use the technology available. The benefits easily outweigh any costs in terms of time saved, disputes prevented, and tenancy relationships strengthened.

Using a shared platform like Inventory Hive means that all parties have an easily accessible view of the reports and agreements in the palm of their hand or on their computer. It’s often enough to see photos, notes and receipts of cleaning and decoration to dissuade a tenant from raising a dispute at all. If they can clearly see how the property looked when they moved in, they can do what’s required to achieve that same condition, allowing for wear and tear.

Tell them, and then tell them again

The added beauty of these solutions is that they can be used to send prompts, reminders and guidance ahead of moving out making the process even smoother. Don’t just assume tenants know what they need to do at the end of tenancy, tell them what needs to be cleaned. And then tell them again. Informing tenants before they move out of their responsibilities is likely to improve the landlords chances of recovering costs during a dispute.

Yes, there is work required at the beginning of a tenancy to make this work. That hasn’t changed. Without capturing those specific details about each room, item, fixtures and fitting at the start, no one will be able to prove whether a property has changed or remained in good condition over time.

But, the work needed to complete the itineraries and check-ins is quicker than it ever has been thanks to pre-populated forms, intelligent photo capture, voice-activated note taking, efficient property visits and more.

With more property landlords and letting agents using digital inventory reporting in the future, we could begin to change the trend of deposit disputes in 2024. 

Learn more at Inventory Hive

Richard Abbots

Richard Abbots Founder, Inventory Hive

Richard is the founder at cloud-based software Inventory Hive and is responsible for overseeing the ground-breaking innovations they have released to the property reporting and 360° virtual tours market. Their vision has always been to create remote paperless workflows with integrated audit-trails that are fair for letting agents, property managers and tenants alike.

Inventory Hive are famed for their usability and innovations that help push our industry forwards. That's why they are market-leading and trigger up to 65k approval email requests through the platform every month. Their in-house development team means they have grown their features at a furious rate and they're only just getting started...

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