As an agent, it’s important that you keep your landlords’ expectations of their tenants and property in check. It could mean the difference between a hassle free tenancy, and one fraught with issues.
Throughout the tenancy, the vast majority of landlords act very reasonably and at the end, often pay reasonable cleaning or redecoration costs, demonstrating why many have never been involved in a deposit dispute.
However, a small minority of landlords and tenants who are unaware of the fundamentals of deposit protection and may act unreasonably at the end of the tenancy.
As an agent, you can act as a facilitator throughout the tenancy by looking at the position of both parties and finding an agreeable solution to any issues that arise throughout the tenancy. By helping your landlord to understand their obligations and advising them from the outset, you can help to avoid issues becoming a potential dispute.
So, what should you make sure your landlord understands at the start of the tenancy?
Fair wear and tear
The concept can be confusing so it’s important that you, as the agent, explain to your landlord client the criteria surrounding the issue which should mean that any proposed deduction can be considered before approaching the tenant. Suzy Hershman, Head Adjudicator at mydeposits says that essentially it boils down to “the depreciation in the condition of the property due to normal use, on a day to day basis, over the entirety of the tenancy.”
It’s important to encourage your landlord to have a sense of what is reasonable. For example, if your landlord has lived in the property prior to letting it out, then it’s quite likely they have some level of emotional attachment and could mean that their view of the property and its condition is slightly ‘rose-tinted’.
Make them aware of the property’s true condition at the time the check-in inventory is carried out and offer them guidance on what is ‘fair wear and tear’ so that they are more understanding at the end of the tenancy when the check-out inspection is reviewed.
The importance of good documentation
It’s a fact that deposit disputes can be won or lost at the start of a tenancy. Good documentation means that your landlord client and an adjudicator who assesses the case can clearly see exactly how each area of the property was given to the tenant and in what condition it is expected to be returned in at the end. Make sure that your landlord client has the following:
- A signed comprehensive tenancy agreement listing all the obligations of both the tenant and landlord.
- A detailed and descriptive Inventory and Schedule of Condition on both the cleanliness and condition of the property and its contents at the start and end of the tenancy (supported with photographic evidence.)
During and at the end of the tenancy
There are a number areas that you need to cover during and at the end of the tenancy, including mid-term inspections, following up on maintenance issues and final inspections.
For more information on what to make your landlord clients aware of during the tenancy, download our latest guide.