A code of recommended practice has been set up by a longstanding provider of tenancy deposit schemes, TDS, in a bid to cut tenancy deposit disputes. The company says it has good insight into what causes tenancy deposit disputes, because it deals with more than 10,000 of them each year. It has set up the code in a bid to avoid the problems arising in the first place.
The code builds on existing guidance to TDS members and outlines the standards it expects in areas such as protecting deposits, terms of business with landlords, tenancy agreements, check-in and check-out reports, and how to negotiate deposit deductions. It is designed to work with codes of practice from the Property Ombudsman, ARLA Propertymark and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
Much of the code is common sense and good practice, which professional landlords will be carrying out in any case, but it is useful advice to act as a reminder. For landlords who use software and apps to conduct a lot of their back-office business, this will be carried out as a matter of course. The code recommends keeping tenant contact details up-to-date and keeping the tenancy deposit record on the TDS database up-to-date too. Using software will make this easier, as it can be done automatically.
The code also says the tenancy agreement must specify which tenancy deposit protection scheme is being used, with all contact details, and the value of the deposit and it must specify clearly how the deposit may be used. Again, specialist software can be used which will make sure all these procedures are carried out correctly.
The code also mentions the need for a comprehensive inventory and schedule of condition prepared at the start of a contract. Any comments made by the tenant about this inventory should be responded to within seven working days, with clear records kept of these comments and responses or action. The check-out report needs to be done as soon as possible after the tenant leaves and a copy of the completed report sent to the tenant promptly. Using specialist software means the inventory can be filled in as the landlord or agent inspects the property, along with photographs or videos of rooms, fixtures, fittings or furnishings. This documentary evidence helps to back up the landlord’s claims in case of a dispute.
Whilst the TDS is advocating good practice regarding tenancy deposit disputes, others are arguing that the deposit schemes should be scrapped and replaced by insurance, which could be financially beneficial to the tenant.
InventoryBase provides the perfect solution in ensuring that good practice is maintained when dealing with lettings – whether that be on a residential or commercial basis.
We even offer a full switch service – enabling existing reports to be imported directly into InventoryBase with ease.
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