Dispute resolution is a free service for resolving deposit disputes between landlords and tenants at the end of the tenancy. We provide a Dispute Resolution Service for any of our customers that need it, as an alternative to using the courts.
In some cases, the adjudicator may decide that the case would be better dealt with through a formal court process. For example, a case involving police or alleged criminal activity, where the dispute involves allegations of fraud relating to the evidence, or highly complex disputes. The adjudicator has limited jurisdiction, and does not have the same powers as a County Court Judge. It is sometimes more appropriate for the matter to be referred to court for a full hearing where spoken evidence can be considered.
The burden of proof
The dispute resolution process is straightforward. Landlords submit their evidence in support of their claim and tenants provide their own evidence supporting their position in response. It’s then sent to an independent, impartial adjudicator, who reviews the evidence and decides how the deposit will be repaid. Many landlords don’t realise that the onus is on them to prove they have a legitimate claim to a share of the deposit, whilst the tenant has no obligation to prove their position. This is because the deposit remains the tenant’s money until the landlord has successfully proven their claim.
How long does the dispute resolution process take?
It varies, depending on a lot of factors, but it's quicker than going to court. In rare circumstances adjudicators may ask for further evidence or clarification on a particular matter from either party outside these deadlines, but this is unusual.
What are adjudicators?
Adjudicators are independent, impartial experts, with the legal skills necessary to make fair and reasoned decisions based on case evidence. They’re either employed directly by us, or they're an independent individual working under contract. We're contractually bound to ensure the adjudicators they employ, directly or under contract, are appropriately qualified in law for the role.
It’s worth noting that it isn’t mediation, arbitration, or counselling, and neither the landlord nor the tenant will ever be required to meet with the adjudicator. Nor will the adjudicator visit the property involved in the deposit dispute.