A new report has shown that landlords are losing property damage disputes with their tenants because they can’t provide enough evidence….

A new report has shown that landlords are losing property damage disputes with their tenants because they can’t provide enough evidence.

A new report conducted by My Property Inventories revealed that in the past year, while just under 10 per cent of landlords have experienced a tenant dispute 66 per cent of those disputes were settled in court. The top cause of disputes were damage to the property.

According to the National Landlords Association (NLA), damage to property is a major concern to landlords and agents with one in three experiencing property damage by tenants in the last year affecting more than 400,000 of the UK’s landlords.

Director of My Property Inventories, Danny Zane, said it is important that agents and landlords ensure they have all the right documentation and evidence to improve their chances of resolving or winning a dispute.

“Unfortunately, landlords are losing disputes because they can’t provide the right evidence to show that a tenant has damaged the property,” said Danny Zane.

“For example, some landlords are failing to put a letting contract in place, or they have very unfair clauses in the contact. Other landlords don’t conduct an adequate check-in and check-out, or don’t keep copies of correspondence with the tenant which could be evidence in a dispute.

“Normal wear and tear is a fact of life with rental properties, but if landlords and agents wish to avoid the hassle of arguments over who is responsible for damage, they need to prepare a thorough inventory of the condition of the property, that details the condition of everything in it.”

My Property Inventories have outlined guidelines to help landlords and agent to avoid potential disputes.

Firstly, they recommend landlords not to compile their own inventory and instead leave it to a professional as they will make sure the correct detail is outlined in the document.

They urge  landlords to ensure their property is fit for letting and when a tenant moves in the property must be completely clean and any garden area should be tidy otherwise things won’t improve by the time the tenant leaves.

A full check with the tenant when they arrive is also recommended as then the tenant will be aware of any changes to the signed agreement and then when they leave make sure that the tenant is present to explain any problems to avoid any nasty surprises.

Finally it is encouraged that the landlord has good communication with the tenant and that they are encouraged to report any problems early to avoid more serious problems and expenses for both the landlord and the tenant.

Danny Zane also pointed out that tenants usually try to hide any damage they have caused to a property so therefore it is vital that landlords and agents have a thorough check of the property and contents when the tenant checks out.

“If landlords have a thorough and detailed inventory, it will enable both parties to be treated fairly and reasonably,” he added.

“By opening a dialogue with tenants and using an independent inventory clerk, disputes can be resolved quicker and without the hassle that is often experienced at the end of a tenancy period.”

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