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Landlords are finally winning the dispute war

Date online: 29/03/2016

The TDS figures show that in 2015, 19.8% of all disputes raised by landlords or agents resulted in 100% pay-outs to them, while 19.2% of all disputes raised resulted in 100% pay-outs to tenants.  The remaining 61% of cases saw the disputed money split between the parties.

In 2014, 20.25% of all disputes raised by tenants resulted in 100% pay-outs to them, compared with 18.21% to landlords and agents. In previous years, tenants have always been awarded the full deposit more often than landlords and agents. Although adjudicators do not seek to decide in favour of one side or the other, many landlords and agents believe that the Courts are biased towards tenants.

Jax Kneppers, Founder and CEO of Imfuna, believes these results are a sign that the landlords and agents are presenting better documented evidence at adjudications.  He comments: “For the first time, landlords and agents are now more successful than tenants at winning 100% of deposits.  This is a significant achievement – an 8.5% increase year on year.

More and more landlords and agents are recognising the power of digital professional inventories and mid-term inspections and this is why the balance is starting to shift.  Many landlords and agents are ensuring that the condition of the property is fully recorded at the start of the tenancy, with a comprehensive inventory, along with a thorough check-in and check-out report.

Historically, many tenant disputes have gone in favour of tenants, as there was simply not enough evidence to support the landlord or agent’s damage claim.  The most common mistake in most inventories is the lack of detail.  Often there is not enough appropriate photographs and any accompanying description to show the condition of the property and its contents. For example, many landlords and agents fail to record the condition of sinks and bathroom fittings, as well skirting, doors, floor coverings and kitchen units.  If an inventory is not a professional and thorough report on the property, then it is not worth the paper it is written on.

Inventory reports should contain a full description of the condition of the property, noting detail on every aspect of damage and its location at the start of a tenancy.  Good photographs provide vital evidence and should be of a high quality when printed up to A4 or A3 size, so that any damage can be clearly seen.

Unless landlords and agents have a water-tight inventory, they are at risk of disputes and expensive repair bills. Our research shows that landlords and agents who have switched from analogue to digital inventories, have seen their tenant deposit disputes drop by more than 300% and their success rate at adjudications improve by an average of 75%.

We have designed Imfuna Let to ensure landlords and agents have a bullet proof inventory that records the property check-in condition status. It is the complete digital property inspection system which has automated all aspects of the data collection in inventories and mid-term inspections.

The software provides a side-by-side comparison report which clearly demonstrates any change in condition of the property, illustrated with date and time stamped photographs. Users can also publish a deposit dispute report, again saving time, meeting deadlines and ensuring that the tenancy deposit protection adjudicator has the information at their fingertips.

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