New streamlined procedures that make it easier for landlords to use a High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO) to evict residential tenants came into force on 23rd August 2020.
All deposits must have been registered with a government backed tenancy deposit scheme, these schemes are
- Deposit Protection Service
- Tenancy Deposit Scheme
At the end of a tenancy as a landlord, the deposit should be returned to the tenant within 10 days once an agreement has been reached as to how much the tenant will have returned.
If there is a dispute as to the amount that should be returned to the tenant, then this sum is held aside, and the dispute resolution will be handled by the deposit scheme that the landlord has used.
If deductions are being disputed, then the landlord should write to the tenant and set out the amount they believe they are entitled to and give clear reasoning and justification.
If the tenant doesn’t agree with the deductions, then the tenancy deposit scheme will work as a mediator, they each have their own mediation scheme, and this means that the case will be looked at with evidence from both parties considered.
Evidence can include the following:
- Signed check in and inventory
- Signed tenancy agreement
- Signed reports of any property inspections carried out
- Invoices, estimates and receipts
- A statement of the rental account
- Videos and photographs that have been clearly date stamped
- Copies of correspondence between the landlord and the tenant
- Witness statements
After the evidence and narratives supplied by both parties have been examined then a decision will be reached.
The adjudicators/mediators are unbiased and take into consideration all the evidence and detail supplied by both parties involved in the dispute. After they have come to a decision both parties will be notified in writing of the decision and the funds will be distributed as prescribed.
It is important that the proper timescales are adhered to and that a landlord is open to communication with the tenant.
David is an authorised High Court Enforcement Officer and our Director of Corporate Governance