Inventories: A picture speaks a thousand words

Kevin Firth, Director of the LPS, said: "The majority of tenants are respectful of the properties they live in so it is easy to become complacent after a few regular tenancies and fail to put in place the appropriate provisions in case of a dispute."

If a tenancy is escalated to a dispute resolution service, a landlord needs to be able to demonstrate that they are entitled to claim some or all of the deposit.

The following are some tips on how to handle evidence submission for a dispute:

1 – Submit your evidence on time as you only get one chance
2 – Minimise breakable items by keeping clutter to a minimum
3 – Provide durable items; take wear and tear into account and kit out the property accordingly
4 – Submit relevant and accurate evidence: photographic evidence can be an effective tool in proving a case
5 – Ideally photos should be signed and dated by both parties; relevant and validly dated receipts/quotes are required
6 – Take time at the beginning and end of the tenancy to accurately log the condition of the property
7 -Vacating Instructions: it is advisable to supply the tenant with written guidance on how to present the property on vacation
8 – Time is of the essence for a check-out report:  it is advisable to conduct your check-out as soon as is practical during daylight hours
9 – Wherever possible, both parties should be present for any issues to be raised, and detailed notes (signed and dated by both parties) must outline any disrepair or damage
10 – Keep your paperwork in order including estimates, invoices and receipts

Kevin Firth, Director of the LPS, said: "Pictures are increasingly used in inventories and check-outs as a comparison tool, so taking accurate, jointly verified photos before the tenant crosses the threshold could help you to avoid a dispute in the future.

"The burden of proof lies with the landlord to show that they are entitled to claim some or all of the deposit if the termination of the tenancy is escalated to a dispute service."

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