There are a number of benefits which come with the tenancy deposit scheme. One of these is the right, if you can’t agree on deductions from the deposit money at the end of the tenancy, to refer this to a free adjudication service.
Needless to say it is not all plain sailing. Here are some tips to help you:
- When you first take on the tenancy, make sure that there is a proper record kept of the condition of the property. The the landlord won’t be able to say that you are responsible for something which was damaged at the time you moved in.
- During the tenancy, keep a proper record of all letters and email correspondence with your landlord or the agent, and also keep a record of your telephone calls, particularly any where you are complaining about the condition of the property
- As soon as you know that there is going to be an adjudication, check your tenancy deposit scheme website carefully, to familiarise yourself with the procedure and any time limits
- Collect as much evidence as you can to support your side of the story. Try to make the adjudicators life easy also by putting paperwork in date order, and if there is a lot of paperwork number all the pages and provide an index. You need to have everything clear and easy to read. If possible, type or print things from your computer, as handwriting is often hard to read. Use bullet points and lots of white space so your important points will stand out.
- Make sure that your evidence is submitted to the adjudicator in good time. Remember that if you are too late, he may never get to see it, and the adjudication could then go against you, even though you may be in the right. There is not normally any right of appeal.
Finally, bear in mind that your job is easier than that of the landlord. The tenancy deposit money is yours, so it is up to the landlord to prove that he has a right to claim part or all of it. If he has no tenancy agreement or has failed to do a proper inventory, he will find this almost impossible. However even so, it is best to protect your position by providing the adjudicator with the best evidence you can.
You can find out more about adjudications and the DPS scheme in particular from my interview with Kevin Firth in the Landlord Law podcast. There is also lots of other information, both on this blog and on my main Landlord Law site.