In this week’s #AskTDS, we look at the importance of getting quotes from contractors to support a tenancy deposit dispute claim.

At end of tenancy, if a landlord finds that work is required, outside of general wear and tear, and they want to make a claim for a deduction from the tenancy deposit, a quote from a contractor is useful evidence to help support the case.

Even outside of lockdown, in normal times, landlords often contact TDS to ask if there’s another way to support a claim if they can’t get quotes from a contractor. Over the past few weeks, it’s been more difficult as many contractors have either temporarily suspended business or, if they are operating again, may only be entering properties for emergency work or they are running with skeleton staff, which can cause delays.

Estimates are a useful part of the process in helping a landlord show why they might be entitled to a deduction from the deposit, but they aren’t absolutely necessary. It’s the evidence provided that will demonstrate the difference in condition between check-in and check-out that matters.

It is also imperative that the accompanying tenancy agreement makes it clear what the tenant’s responsibilities are and what the deposit can be used for.  If there isn’t a suitable deposit use clause in the tenancy agreement clearly stating that a deposit deduction can be made, then the adjudicator will not be able to make an award.

Costs for any work claimed must be reasonable and truly reflect the work required. If you have identified and decided on a price, the estimates are a good way of supporting that claim. If you can’t get the quotes, there are other ways of showing the reason for that cost.

For example, you could provide TDS with an hourly rate of work and refer to example pricing you’ve found online that helped you arrive at your price. Or, you could show examples of previous work carried out by those same contractors, maybe at start of tenancy, that would give good background to your calculation. 

Providing you can show how you’ve arrived at a reasonable estimate for the work required alongside a clear tenancy agreement that shows what the tenancy deposit can be used for and suitable evidence to show that the landlord has suffered a loss, a lack of estimates should not be an issue with TDS. You can read more in this guide from TDS: How to Present Your Case

As Head of Member Services at TDS, I cover this topic in the bitesize seminar held in conjunction with the National Landlord Investment Show, which can now be listened to online at:

Alternatively, anyone who would like to view a recording of the TDS Webinars can watch them on the TDS Website here. 

About the Author

John King

Head of TDS Member Services 

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John is the Head of TDS Member Services and has been working with all our teams for over 10 years. As a former practitioner in the lettings industry with over 25 years’ experience he takes a keen interest in Property Industry especially with all the changes in the Private Rental Sector. In addition to his work in Estate Agency John has worked within our Alternative Disputes Resolution team and is key to our customer focus to offer the best service we can in a changing property landscape.

About TDS

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is a Government-approved scheme for the protection of tenancy deposits; TDS offers both Insured and Custodial protection and also provides fair adjudication for disputes that arise over the tenancy deposits that we protect.

We provide invaluable training in tenancy deposit protection and disputes for agents and landlords through the TDS Academy as well as joining with MOL to provide the Technical Award in Residential Tenancy Deposits.

TDS Custodial Scheme: where TDS hold the deposit for the duration of the tenancy. Join TDS Custodial for FREE today

TDS Academy: TDS provides property professionals with invaluable training in tenancy deposit protection and tenancy deposit disputes. Click here to see upcoming TDS Academy’s.

TDS can only comment on the process for our scheme, other deposit protection schemes may have a different process/require different steps. Content is correct at the time of writing.

These views are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the view of TDS, its officers and employees.

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