I posted some stats on Twitter the other day that some of you found interesting so I’ve elaborated on them here where I’m not restricted to 140 characters. In 2010 we completed 3150 adjudications.
38% of those claims were awarded solely to the tenant for two main reasons, which are:
a. A full, signed tenancy agreement was not submitted as evidence
In this instance the claim will automatically fail. The Adjudicator assesses the claim on the terms of the tenancy; impossible if they don’t have sight of the terms.
b. The evidence submitted was insufficient
It’s easy to assume that the Adjudicator is as familiar with the tenancy as the landlord and tenant but unfortunately, this is not the case. During a claim the burden of proof – defined as; ‘a duty placed upon a civil or criminal defendant to prove or disprove a disputed fact’ – lies with the landlord. If their evidence is not sufficiently persuasive there’s nothing for the Adjudicator to base their decision on, making it less likely to succeed.
18% of those were awarded solely to the landlord as they sufficiently proved the claim.
44% of those were split between landlord and tenant because an unreasonable claim was submitted.
It’s frustrating when your property is damaged – but it’s important to make claims that accurately reflect the damage. Just because a carpet has been stained does not mean it needs replacing. If the Adjudicator deems the claim to be unreasonable, they may choose to return a smaller amount to the landlord as a contribution for whenever they decide to change the carpet; the rest will go back to the tenant and result in a split award.
You can read more on this in ‘Managing expectations: what’s ‘reasonable’ in deposit disputes?’
The best advice, if you have a legitimate case for wishing to withhold a tenant’s deposit, is to submit as much (relevant) evidence as possible so the Adjudicator can’t be in any doubt.
Check out our Essential Guide to Dispute Resolution if you need more information about our ADR process.