In dispute with your landlord – damage is the No 1 Cause @PersonalAgentUK #landlords
17th July 2014
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What are the main causes of tenant disputes?

You would assume that the most common dispute would be about rent and the deposit – but it’s not – it’s about damage to the property – who caused it and who pays.

Take a look at this article below;

Tenant disputes are an unavoidable part of the lettings business. Even the best agents will have disagreements with their renters at some point, it is simply just a part of life in the private rented sector. 

But what exactly are the most common causes of these disputes and what can letting agencies do to avoid them ' We take a look below. 

New research from The Online Letting Agents has claimed damage to properties is the number-one cause of tenant disputes. A survey of rental property owners by the organisation found 58 per cent have experienced a disagreement over this issue. 

The reasons for this are obvious. Repairing damage is expensive and that means tenants, landlords and letting agents are all unwilling to dip into their pockets and pay for repairs. The best way to avoid such a situation occurring is to ensure a professional inventory is drawn up at the start of a tenancy clearly stating what condition the property and its furnishings are in.

Making the effort to ensure the tenancy agreement is clear and that tenants understand their responsibilities and what constitutes wear and tear will also go a long way to preventing disputes further down the line. 

Related to property damage is cleaning. Confusion often arises about whose responsibility it is to ensure a home is kept clean and this can lead to disputes when a landlord or agent presents a tenant with an expensive cleaning bill at the end of their tenancy.

Again, communication and ensuring renters understand their obligation to keep the property clean, as well at what represents a decent standard of cleanliness, is vital. This is particularly important in shared houses with communal areas such as kitchens and bathrooms.

Rent and deposits
Naturally, a major cause of tenant disputes is money. Be it rent arrears or arguments over the return of a deposit, a disagreement can quickly turn into costly legal action if it is handled poorly. The Online Letting Agents found 42 per cent of rental property owners have experienced a dispute over tenants failing to pay rent, with the average wait time for a late payment being six weeks.

Landlords and letting agents who have a good relationship with their renters tend to find arrears cases easier to handle, as people are usually more willing to come forward with a problem if they are speaking to someone they know and trust. This means its always worthwhile to make the small effort to get to know tenants and foster some kind of relationship.

Should it come to having to serve a notice, this should use clear language that makes it plain the individual stands to be evicted if they continue to fail to pay their rent.

Regarding deposits, all of these payments should now be secured in an approved scheme, which is one important step towards reducing the likelihood of disputes. Preventing arguements over deductions links back into the advice given about damage and cleaning; if tenants understand their responsibilities they are far more likely to understand why certain costs have to be taken from their deposit to cover cleaning costs, repairs etc.

Tenant disputes are not unavoidable, but they can become less frequent if the right action is taken.

If you need advice on letting or renting a property – give the Personal Agent Lettings & Management team in Epsom a call.

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Nigel & Maggie

Member since: 10th July 2012

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