Winning a Tenant and Landlord Deposit Dispute - Eutopian Lettings
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Winning a Tenant and Landlord Deposit Dispute

So you want to learn more how to win a about deposit dispute ?

According to “Tenant Deposit Protection legislation was introduced, in part, in response to concerns that a significant minority of tenants felt that their tenancy deposit was unreasonably withheld and had experienced difficulty in getting their deposit back.

However, the consistent experience of the schemes is that deposit disputes are raised in a low proportion of cases, typically fewer than 1% of tenancy deposits protected.”

The legislation regarding tenant deposit protection was introduced in 2008 and the number of deposits processed since then has been constantly increasing. That is because the number of people renting in the private sector has increased since they can no longer easily afford to buy a home.

The main reasons for deposit dispute are the following:

deposit dispute reasons

For more statistics about disputes for Northern Ireland and Scotland You can check them out here

Who initiates most of the Deposit Disputes?

According to a source by TDS the majority of the disputes are initiated by the tenant. That is probably because the landlord needs extensive evidence in order to be able to keep any part of the deposit.

deposit dispute claims

How to claim for cleaning in a deposit dispute

According to the tenancy act passed in 2019, Landlords can not longer claim cleaning fees from the deposit of a tenant. However there is a way around this.

If you have a check in report clearly showing that the property was in immaculate condition and professionally cleaned then you can make the argument that the property needs to be returned in the same state it was given to the tenant. This also implies that you are able to prove that the state of the property (with the check out report) is worse with regards to cleaning.

The Deposit Protection Schemes do not require you to have an inventory when sending the deposit of the tenant. However, this is vital if you ever expect to get any deduction for the damages the tenant might too. The check-in report needs to be verified by the landlord as soon as it has been done it also needs to be signed by the tenant. A report signed by the tenant holds more weight than one that is not signed by the tenant. The photos from the inventory need to be dated in order for you to show that they have been taken at the time when the tenant moved in. The checkout report also needs to have photos that are dated. in order to show that the report was not conducted a long time after the tenant moved out because that renders it irrelevant in the eyes of the adjudicator.

How to claim for damage in a deposit dispute

If you want to claim damage from the security deposit of a tenant as the landlord you need to prove that the damage is caused were “beyond reasonable wear and tear”.

Let’s first look at what where and tear is considered.

Here is a good list that can give you an idea about it, according to

wear and tear examples

In this instance, if you look at the damages and they seem to be from wear and tear then even if you have sufficient evidence you might not win the claim.

You should also be aware that there is something called betterment which means that a tenant cannot be in a better position at the end of the tenancy than he was at the beginning of the tenancy.

Example: If you had a 10 years old carpet on the property and the tenant stained the carpet, the landlord cannot claim the full price of the carpet because it was 10 years old.

Let’s have a closer look at the difference between wear and tear and damage. Here is a list of damages in the property:

damages in a property

As a landlord, you are eligible for any damaged similar to the ones above if you have proof of changes in the check-in and check-out report.

How to claim a Pet damage in a deposit dispute

Have you had a tenant with a pet? If that is the case I need to make sure that there is a clause in your contract stating that any damage created by the pet will be covered from the tenant’s deposit. If the claim is there then together with the evidence that you can provide from the inventory and check out the report, will make a strong case for an adjudicator to make the decisions in your favor.

Learning more about the deposit disputes:

I’m not there to help you understand the process better the DPS has created a fun interactive platform where both the landlord and tenants can be the adjudicators of the previous disputes.

This fund platform helps them understand the process of decision making by when looking at the case studies.

Here is what it looks like. You should have a go!

deposit dispute process example


The most important part of the deposit dispute is evidence. Foreign landlord evidence means a detailed inventory signed by the tenant and a strong checkout report signed by the tenant. Without this in place, there is not much advice you can get from any article online or any agent if you did not have proof that damage was inflicted during the tenancy and not before it started.

We can find more details about a good inventory in our blog post: A Property Inventory Guide .

Do you want to learn more about Property Management you can check out our Property Management Training Courses.

As a tenant, you should remember that you are considered innocent until proven guilty which means that the landlord is the one who needs to bring proof of the damage being done. A good argument can be approved brought by the landlord of an inventory that has not been signed. Remember that you do not need to leave a property in a better condition than it was at the start of the tenancy.

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