Landlords have been warned that, when withholding deposit money, the onus is on them to prove that their claims are justified.
David Salusbury, Chairman of Mydeposits.co.uk, a Government-approve tenancy deposit protection scheme, has advised landlords to “take simple steps to show any deductions are justified and proportionate.” This includes an inventory for proving damage, bank statements for demonstrating non-payment and even photographs and exchanges of correspondence.
Landlords can withhold all or part of a tenant’s deposit to cover any damage sustained beyond wear and tear but this money can be formally disputed by the tenant. According to figures collected by mydeposits.co.uk for the third quarter of 2008, tenants received all or part of their deposit back in 9 out of 10 cases.
"This is very sensible advice,” says property solicitor David Briffa of London law firm Child & Child. “The deposit protection scheme is one of the best initiatives this Government has introduced."