What makes good evidence?

Deposit disputes can be tricky, and it can be difficult to know exactly what evidence to submit. Here we look at the most common types of dispute, and the type of evidence that will best support your case.

 

Non-payment of rent

   

What evidence must be provided

› Tenancy agreement

› Statement of the rent account

 

   

What evidence may support the claim

Bank statements are often produced to support claims for rent arrears, but alone these aren’t as compelling to an adjudicator as a full statement of the rent account. It’s also useful to provide evidence that the tenant has been told about the arrears (ideally with a statement of account provided), and given the chance to comment on them.

If your claim is for rent in lieu of notice, or breach of a fixed term, it helps to make this clear to the adjudicator, and make sure they're aware of key dates such as when the tenancy was due to end, when notice was served and it's end date, when the tenant vacated, and the date that the rent was paid up to. 

 

Cleaning

What evidence must be provided

› Tenancy agreement

› Check in and check out evidence – preferably a detailed inventory/report, which is independent and/or has been signed and agreed by the tenant at the start of the tenancy

 

 

What evidence may support the claim

› Signed reports of periodic inspections of the property

› Invoices/receipts/estimates/ quotes

› Date stamped photographs or video recordings

› Copies of any correspondence between the landlord and tenant

 

Notes

The adjudicator will look at the size and type of property, or the amount of cleaning that the evidence shows the tenant is liable for. For this reason, ‘Standard Charges’ in relation to cleaning will be considered on the basis of how proportionate they are to the cleaning required. A landlord can carry out the cleaning themselves and claim their own costs.

They can support their claim by producing quotes for the cleaning from a contractor, to show that the costs are not greater than if they hired professional help. It’s important to remember that the tenant is only obliged to return the property cleaned to the same standard as at the start of the tenancy. 

 

 

Damage to property or items

This could be redecoration, repair, replacement or restoration.

What evidence must be provided

› Tenancy agreement

› Check in and check out evidence – preferably a detailed inventory/report, which is independent and/or has been signed and agreed by the tenant at the start of the tenancy

 

What evidence may support the claim

› Signed reports of periodic inspections of the property

› Invoices/receipts/estimates/ quotes

› Date stamped photographs or video recordings

› Copies of any correspondence between the landlord and tenant

› Witness statements

Notes

See the notes on Cleaning regarding landlords claiming their own costs for work they have carried out themselves. 

 

 

Gardening

What evidence must be provided

› Tenancy agreement

› Check in and check out evidence – preferably a detailed inventory/report, which is independent and/or has been signed and agreed by the tenant at the start of the tenancy

   
 

What evidence may support the claim

› Signed reports of periodic inspections of the property

› Invoices/receipts/estimates/ quotes

› Date stamped photographs or video recordings

› Copies of any correspondence between the landlord and tenant

› Witness statements 

Notes

With claims for gardening, the adjudicator will have to consider possible changes in season when the tenant moved in and moved out. 

 

 

Outstanding utility bills

What evidence must be provided

› Tenancy agreement

› A copy of the utility bill

   
 

Notes

If utility bills are in the tenant’s name then it’s unlikely an award will be made to the landlord as the debt is owed by the tenant to the service scheme and should not affect the landlord or new tenant’s ability to obtain services If the tenant is paying for utilities as part of their rent payment, this would normally be considered as rent arrears.

 

 

 

Contractors' fees for maintenance or repair of the property

What evidence must be provided

› Tenancy agreement

› A copy of the contractor’s invoice

   
 

What evidence may support the claim

The adjudicator may also need to see any correspondence that shows why the landlord considers the tenant liable for the contractor’s invoice.

Notes

Remember that the landlord is always liable for the structure, maintenance and repair of the property under statute. The adjudicator will therefore need to understand why the contractor’s fee did not relate to this statutory responsibility in order to make an award for the tenant to pay it.

 

 

Agency fees

Notes

While it is accepted that agents can insert standard fees into their Terms of Business or tenancy agreements, they can be challenged by a tenant. If the adjudicator considers them to be unreasonable, they have the potential to be unenforceable.

   
 

 

 

   

Wear and tear

   

Notes

Landlords can only claim for excessive wear and tear – which would be considered damage and fall under that claim type.

This is particularly important in disputes where the tenant has lived in the property for a long time.  For example, the adjudicator is unlikely to make an award for a claim for redecoration costs where the tenant has lived in the property for 5 or more years, as the landlord would probably have needed to redecorate anyway, regardless of anything the tenant has done.

   

 

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