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The good news is that less than 1% of tenancy deposits protected by Tenancy Deposit Scheme are disputed at the end of a tenancy.
However, the 1% that are disputed can be time consuming, costly and often avoidable. So it is worth looking at the most common causes and how to avoid a dispute.
In the UK in 2020 47% of disputes were over cleaning, 43% cited damage to property, 29% cited redecoration, 18% cited rent arrears and 12% cited gardening.
Some disputes will be unavoidable but many can be prevented by clear communication at the beginning of the tenancy, professional management of expectations and good tenancy deposit process.
Ensure tenants understand that the property must be left in the same condition it was found (allowing for fair wear and tear).
Be crystal clear about tenant and landlord responsibilities at the beginning of the tenancy.
Include detail on the internal and external maintenance of the property.
Always conduct a thorough inventory, check in and check out. Ensure the inventory clerk makes a note of every detail and includes many photographs in the report.
Keep a clear record of all communication throughout the tenancy.
If a dispute is unavoidable then tenants and landlords should be open to the option of mediation, which can save time and money on court costs.
Ultimately the best advice we can give is to use a professional agency who are proficient, trained and experienced in the process of managing tenancies and disputes should they arise.