5. Terminating a tenancy
5.2 Once the property has been vacated
The vacated property should be inspected within 24 hours of vacation, or on the next working day, to establish whether it has been returned to the landlord in the condition specified in the tenancy agreement. The tenant should be given a reasonable opportunity to attend the inventory checkout.
The local authority and utility companies should be notified of the change in, or discontinuance of occupation.
In obtaining estimates for restoring the property and contents, all actions should be duly recorded. You must make proper allowance for fair wear and tear and no claim can be made for any deterioration which is fairly attributable to fair wear and tear. You should seek guidance from the relevant tenancy deposit scheme.
The tenant’s deposit should not be refunded until the final inspection has taken place and you are satisfied that the deposit should be refunded. Deposit sums not in dispute should be refunded to the tenant within a reasonable time (in accordance with the scheme rules) from the end of the tenancy. Any balance remaining should be refunded within a reasonable time (in accordance with the scheme rules) after reaching agreement between the parties of what is to be refunded or after the decision of the tenancy deposit scheme adjudicator.
The grounds for any retention from the deposit must be provided to the former tenant in writing, if requested, and in compliance with tenancy deposit legislation and the requirements of the relevant tenancy deposit protection scheme.
You should refer disputes about the return of tenancy deposits to the relevant tenancy deposit protection scheme.
The three scheme websites, for reference, are
- The Deposit Protection Service (DPS) | www.depositprotection.com
- My Deposits | www.mydeposits.co.uk
- Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) | www.thedisputeservice.co.uk
You need to be sure, when submitting evidence to the adjudicators in dispute that you are giving the adjudicator the full picture.
This post on the Landlord Law Blog looks at a situation where the landlord had to sell the property at a lower price because of the tenant’s damage, and includes a comment from Kevin Firth of the DPS on the sort of evidence that an adjudicator would need to see in this situation.