Merry Christmas from The DPS!

It’s impossible to miss the tinsel, wreaths and Christmas jumpers that have sprung up all over the country in the last couple of weeks which can only mean one thing – it’s nearly time for us all to down tools, enjoy lots of food and the joys of Christmas TV. As you know however, you can never fully switch off from your responsibilities as a landlord, whether that’s making sure your property is kept in good condition over the festive period, completing deposit disputes or even taking on new tenants.

There are a couple of things you can do to make sure your properties are in order, ensuring the safety of your tenants and hopefully a stress-free Christmas for you.

Are your tenants leaving the property over Christmas?

Our adjudication team receives a lot of claims following severe winter weather. The majority are usually the result of burst or frozen pipes at student houses where tenants had left the property to spend Christmas with their families.

In the worst cases seen by our adjudicators over the years burst pipes have resulted in damage to carpets and flooring, kitchen appliances needing replacing and claims for lost rent whilst damage is repaired. Some landlords have faced repair bills of several thousand pounds.

To avoid this stress and expense, contact your tenants to see if they’re going away for the festive season, to ensure that the proper measures are taken to avoid this kind of damage.

Be aware of evidence submission deadlines

If you’ve currently got a deposit in dispute then don’t forget to stick to your evidence submission deadlines. The DPS is not extending any deadlines but is making allowances for bank holidays so if you’re concerned about a deadline then get in touch so we can see what we can do for you.

Our Christmas opening hours

If you’re taking on new tenants over Christmas or the New Year you can submit deposits at any time online. If you need assistance our contact centre opening hours are:

Monday 24th – 8:30am – 4:00pm

Tuesday 25th – CLOSED 

Wednesday 26th – CLOSED 

Thursday 27th – 8:30am – 5:30pm

Friday 28th – 8:30am – 5:30pm

Monday 31st – 8:30am – 4:00pm

Tuesday 1st – CLOSED

You can also get in touch via online form or why not ask Emma, our online customer service agent.

Finally, a very merry Christmas to you from everyone at The DPS!

Meet the team – Kerry Laws, ADR Case Handler

What does your role involve?As part of the ADR case handling team it’s my job to process the evidence received from landlords, letting agents and tenants before it is handed over to the Adjudicators who make the final decisions. I’m also responsible for:

› processing responses to Single Claims › allocating work out to other team members › responding to emails from all parties; and › reviewing cases where tenant evidence has not be supplied by the deadline and processing payment to the landlord or letting agent.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen whilst in the role? We once had some urine stained pieces of carpet sent in to us as evidence. It certainly wasn’t funny at the time but looking back, it does make me giggle – some landlords take evidence submission very literally!

What’s the best thing about your role? Our team is incredibly busy and manages a big workload on a daily basis. In any one day we could each process 25 sets of evidence. So being able to turn work around before my deadlines is hugely satisfying. We allow a four day turnaround to pass evidence and case notes to the adjudicators but I always try to process items within two days instead.

There’s also a small part of me that looks forward to what we may get sent in by way of evidence each day, sometimes that back-fires as I explained above!

What’s most challenging? We often have a lot of correspondence and other evidence to sift through which makes my role very painstaking. The most challenging part is sometimes finding out what the landlord, agent or tenant means in their evidence and emails – quite a bit of time can be spent deciphering meaning, grammar, spelling and hand writing.

If you’re looking for guidance on deposit disputes, download our ‘Guide to tenancy deposits, disputes and damages’ today.

ADR Insight: DIY SOS - tenants painted my living room bright pink!

As a general rule, responsibility for decorating a property lies with the landlord. However, we see a number of disputes each year where the parties agreed to the tenant redecorating but the precise details were not clearly defined. Landlords who find that their calm and tranquil magnolia property has been returned in fuchsia pink, turquoise blue or pillar box red can be understandably shocked at the changes to the property. Here are a few of the statements we often see in evidence and the potential flaws with each of them:

1    Landlord says: ‘I told them it was ok if they used a neutral colour’

[caption id="attachment_964" align="alignright" width="300" caption="'You said yes, as long as it's neutral...yellow is neutral isn't it?'"][/caption]

What is a neutral colour? Most would assume magnolia, cream or beige but the landlord’s definition may be very different to the tenant’s, so it is helpful to be clear about what constitutes a ‘neutral’ colour.

2    Landlord says: ‘I told them they could use whatever colours they liked as long as they repainted it all back to original colours at the end of the tenancy’

If the details of the decorating agreement are not clearly set out in writing, it is difficult for the landlord to prove that such a discussion took place. Therefore it is unlikely to result in the claim being awarded in the landlord’s favour.

3    Landlord says: ‘I didn’t give permission’ but tenant says: ‘I told them I was going to redecorate and they didn’t object’ or alternatively ‘the landlord has been round many times since I redecorated and said how lovely it looked’.

Again, the precise details of any permitted decoration needs to be clearly defined.  Depending on what is said in the Tenancy Agreement, the tenant’s argument is unlikely to be persuasive in this instance, particularly if the agreement requires written permission from the landlord.

4    Landlord says: ‘I gave tenant permission to redecorate but they botched it and it looks awful’.

You may wish to include a requirement in the Tenancy Agreement that if the tenant is going to redecorate, the landlord is entitled to inspect the results. If they’re not satisfied the tenant can be asked to do it again, or the landlord can complete the works at the tenant’s cost. Alternatively, the landlord could insist that the tenant uses a professional to decorate the property.

Often Tenancy Agreements will state that the tenant can redecorate if the landlord’s written permission is given. Our adjudicators often see letters from landlords which simply allow the tenant to redecorate without stating the specific parameters. It is helpful to fully define them, so for instance an agreement may be drafted to confirm:

›       What rooms are being decorated

›       What colours are being used – this could include reference to colour charts or even sample wallpaper

›       Who is doing the redecoration – the tenant, or a professional decorator

Either way you should have something in writing, which is dated and signed by both the tenant and the landlord, that sets out the rules for redecoration so that the details agreed at the time can be absolutely proven.

Whilst disputes over redecorating are most common, if there is any agreement for other works to be carried out to the property by the tenant, such as alterations to the garden or carpets, or if for example appliances are being replaced, it is always prudent to document these and ensure that the terms are agreed by both parties at the time.

Our ‘Guide to tenancy deposits, disputes and damages’ provides comprehensive information and advice about deposit disputes – you can download the guide from our website.

ADR Insight – don’t neglect your rental property over the Christmas period

As you know, you can never fully switch off from your responsibilities as a landlord, whether that be taking on new tenants, completing deposit disputes or making sure your property is kept in good condition over the festive period. There are a couple of things you can do to make sure your properties are in order, ensuring the safety of your tenants and hopefully a stress-free Christmas for you.

Are your tenants leaving the property over Christmas?

Our adjudication team received a lot of claims earlier this year following the severe winter weather in 2010. The majority were the result of burst or frozen pipes at student houses where tenants had left the property to spend Christmas with their families.

In the worst cases seen by our adjudicators over the years burst pipes have resulted in damage to carpets and flooring, kitchen appliances needing replacing and claims for lost rent whilst damage is repaired. Some landlords have faced repair bills of several thousand pounds.

To avoid this stress and expense, you should contact your tenants if they’re going away to ensure that the proper measures are taken to avoid this kind of damage.

The AIIC has issued some guidance on keeping your properties safe during cold spells:

›   Insulation – Ensure water pipes and tanks are lagged and insulated.

›   Heating – Advise tenants to keep the heating on, at a min. of 15 degrees, if they’re going away. It’s also sensible to open the loft hatch allowing air to circulate and prevent pipes freezing and bursting in the loft.

›   Boiler servicing – Ensure that gas and oil boilers are serviced every 12 months.

›   If the property is going to be empty for an extended period it’s sensible to have the heating/water system drained by a qualified contractor.

›   Chimneys – Ensure they are swept once a year by a professional chimney sweep, ideally before the tenant starts using the fire.

›   Smoke Alarms – Check that smoke alarms are fitted in all properties and that they are all working properly. Replace batteries as necessary.

Be aware of evidence submission deadlines

If you’ve currently got a deposit in dispute then don’t forget to stick to your evidence submission deadlines. The DPS is not extending any deadlines but is making allowances for bank holidays so if you’re concerned about a deadline then get in touch so we can see what we can do for you.

Our Christmas opening hours

If you’re taking on new tenants over Christmas or the New Year you can submit deposits at any time online. If you need assistance our contact centre opening hours are:

Friday 23rd - 8:30am – 4:00pm

Monday 26th - CLOSED 

Tuesday 27th - CLOSED 

Wednesday 28th – 8:30am – 5:30pm

Thursday 29th – 8:30am – 5:30pm

Friday 30th - 8:30am – 5:00pm

Monday 2nd - CLOSED

You can also get in touch via online form or why not ask Emma, our online customer service agent.

Finally, a very merry Christmas to you from everyone at The DPS!

ADR Insight: Stick to the facts and don’t get personal

They don’t call it dispute resolution for nothing – but there are some cases that take disputes over deposits to a more personal level. Landlords and tenants enter into a contractual relationship and, like any other relationship, this can ‘irretrievably break down’ during the course of the tenancy.

We’ve seen several cases where this has happened. The relationship breaks down to such an extent that tenants withhold rent as they feel the landlord hasn’t maintained the property correctly, or in some cases, the aggrieved tenant has trashed a property as a result of the disagreement.

When it comes to a head like this, adjudicators can be left to deal with the fallout and find themselves wading through lengthy and heated email or text message exchanges between the parties in order to establish the real facts of the case.

A recent case got so personal that it wouldn’t have been out of place on ‘Jeremy Kyle’! The initial evidence involved a 13-page typewritten submission which was largely a tirade of abuse – referring to the other party as, amongst other things, habitual liars, alcoholics, weak, lonely, unhappy, angry, unbalanced and violent. 

Not surprisingly, the other party responded with an 18-page typewritten submission that claimed their opponents were abusive and rude, harassed them, made personal insults, had mental health issues, threatened them and made nuisance calls to them.

With this abundance of excess information, the real facts of the case can get lost and in some cases delay a decision due to the sheer volume of correspondence to trawl through. It can also confuse the outcome and mean that a fair decision cannot be made.

Whilst our adjudicators wouldn’t ever prevent the disputing parties providing anything which they feel is required for the adjudicator to come to their decision, it’s advisable to stick to the facts where possible.

Attempts to assassinate the character of the other party are rarely helpful to the claim and are unlikely to be given much weight by the adjudicator. A clear and factual account of the tenancy, a chronology of events, clear evidence of the condition of the property and invoices/estimates/receipts will always be much more persuasive.

If you need help or guidance on how to tackle a deposit dispute our ‘Guide to Tenancy Deposits, Disputes and Damages’ gives further information on the adjudication process and the way a decision will be reached.

Kevin Winchester shares his approach to avoiding deposit disputes

[caption id="attachment_886" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Kevin Winchester, MD of Winchester Lettings"][/caption] Since the law regarding deposits paid by tenants to landlords or lettings agents changed in April 2007, disputes over the deposit have been a common problem at the end of the tenancy. For example, the landlord will say the tenant has damaged something and the tenant will say it was like it when they moved in.

I can thankfully say that we’ve been one of the few agents that haven’t had this problem and below are some of the reasons why we never really get disputes.

First and foremost, we produce a very detailed check-in inventory and schedule of condition. The more time taken compiling one the better, with date and time stamped photos preferably as these can be used to show a very real portrayal of how the property was handed to a tenant. If the property is professionally cleaned beforehand keep the receipt and add a copy of it to the inventory. Both the landlord / agent / check-in clerk and tenant should mutually agree that the inventory is accurate. I’ve seen some pretty basic inventories in my time and it’s this type that is open to being ambiguous.

Don’t rely on a very tight tenancy agreement with clauses about cleaning etc. as these types of clauses can be deemed unfair – see the Office of Fair Trading website regarding unfair tenancy terms.

Carry out regular inspections on your properties; mark my words if you never make any inspections you may end up getting a shock when they leave. I’d suggest a visit once a quarter as a minimum - ideally on different dates and times – and take a camera to log any damage caused; it’s a great way of ensuring your tenants are looking after the property and if anything is of concern it can be nipped in the bud straight away.

If you have to provide maintenance to a rented property don’t ignore it as these problems will get worse over time and cause more damage to your property. Landlords have to comply with the statutory repair obligations in section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, and if you get work done promptly then a tenant will be a lot more conscious that you like to keep things nice.

When you receive notice from your tenant that he/she intends to vacate, send them a letter prior to check-out advising them of your expectations and arrangements for key handover and final meter readings. We always add instructions for things like cleaning and gardening to this letter to highlight what we expect to be done prior to the meeting. We also send a copy of the check-in inventory for the tenant to refer to.

A couple of days before the check-out meeting make another inspection; this is your chance to assess any potential problems you could face at the exit meeting. Again take photos and document what you see.

The check-out meeting should be conducted using the agreed check-in inventory and it’s at this point that you’ll need to assess what is genuine wear and tear or what is actual damage - if there is any!

If you need advice on what is considered fair wear and tear then I suggest you buy 'A Guide to Best Practice for Inventory Providers’ which you can get from The Association of Professional Inventory Providers. If you’re not a member of a professional body it will cost you around £100.00 which is a worthwhile investment – we refer to it all the time!

If there is a dilapidation that needs to be addresses, try making an agreement with your tenant there and then and discuss the likely cost to rectify. For instance, if the property has not been cleaned but you had the property professionally cleaned prior to them moving in, refer to the receipt in the inventory as the cost is already there.

If you need to get quotes for any work then aim to get at least 3 so you can show due diligence in obtaining the best contractor. It’s also a requirement if you decide to use an ADR service.

Finally, always try to come to an amicable agreement regarding the repayment of a tenant’s deposit: remember the golden rule - ‘the burden of proof lies with the landlord'.

Kevin is Managing Director of Winchester Lettings Group – based in Bromley, Kent – a dedicated property lettings specialist that deals with every aspect of residential lettings and property rental management.

These opinions are those of the writer and not necessarily those of The Deposit Protection Service.

ADR Insight: "But I was on holiday?"

We’re always advising landlords that for deposit dispute claims to be successful they have to provide as much relevant evidence to support their claim as possible, as this is absolutely crucial for adjudicators to make educated and informed decisions. However, it’s equally important that evidence is submitted within our published deadlines. Landlords have 14 days to submit all the evidence they would like considered in relation to their claim. If we don’t receive anything within the two weeks, we will repay the full amount to the tenant as we have nothing to assess the claim against.

When we receive the evidence, we send a summary to the tenant giving them 14 days to respond. Again, if there’s nothing received from the tenant, we repay the disputed amount to the landlord.

We appreciate that it is frustrating to both parties when the deposit that they believe they have a rightful claim to is repaid in this way, but the ADR process is intended to be a faster alternative to the courts which is why evidence submission deadlines are imposed.

To give yourself the best chance during a dispute, we offer the following advice :

›       Create a legally binding signed tenancy agreement

›       Provide a thorough inventory and schedule of condition report (signed)

›       Complete a check-in and check-out with the tenant present

›       Keep hold of all correspondence, invoices and other admin that may be relevant

Having done all that, you wouldn’t want to fall at the final hurdle so make sure you get everything to us within the 14 days.

If for any reason you can’t meet that deadline, let us know as soon as possible so we can arrange an extension for you.

For more information on ADR best practice, read our Essential Guide. There is further information on evidence and deposit disputes in our Guide to Tenancy Deposits, Disputes and Damages.

ADR Insight: A cautionary tale for landlords overseas

We’ve seen claims recently from overseas landlords who’ve fallen foul of the provisions of Section 48 Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 which requires landlords living overseas to provide an ‘address for service’ to the tenant. This address must be in England or Wales and we often find it’s the address of their estate agent, or possibly a friend or family member who looks after the property when they’re abroad.

Unfortunately some landlords don’t comply with this but they need to beware – the consequences for failing to comply with this provision are severe. The Act states that until the landlord provides a valid ‘address for service’, no rent is lawfully due from the tenant and we have seen claims where landlords find themselves vastly out of pocket, simply because they didn’t add this to the tenancy agreement.

We’ve also seen landlords give the address of the property itself as the ‘address for service’. Whilst this appears to comply with Section 48 requirements, it’s not wholly practical. For example, in the past we’ve dealt with claims for damage where the tenant’s defence was that it occurred as a result of a problem with the property (such as a leak or flood). They’d notified the landlord of the need for repair by sending a letter to the ‘address for service’ – here you see the flaw – which turned out to be their own home!

In these instances, there was no provision in the tenancy agreement that required the tenant to forward the landlord’s mail on to them, so the claims for damage failed – the tenants had done everything they were contractually required to do. 

So, whilst the property address would seem to fit the bill, think about how it would work in practice. If the tenant is going to vacate, as a landlord you need to receive notice of that. If all that the contract requires the tenant to do is equivalent to leaving their vacation notice sat on their own kitchen table for a month, it’s not much use to an overseas landlord who will remain blissfully unaware that their tenants are packing up and moving out!

ADR Insight: ‘Rogue’ landlords – fact or media fiction?

Lately, there’s been a strong media focus on so-called ‘rogue landlords’ but is it always so one-sided? Our adjudicators tell us that they do on occasion see some quite shocking behaviour – by both landlords and tenants. Here’s some real-life examples of unreasonable landlord claims, recounted by those deciding cases on behalf of the DPS: 

  • One landlord claimed for loss of rent for the remainder of the fixed term of the tenancy. On the face of it this seems quite reasonable until you read the ‘notice’ they served on their tenants by email, giving them 24 hours to vacate the property. They did as they were told, but the landlord then insisted that they should still be liable to pay rent for the remainder of the fixed term.
  • Another landlord who, having received notice from their tenant, allowed a new tenant to move into the property a week or so before the outgoing tenant was due to vacate therefore denying the outgoing tenant the right of exclusive occupation of the property. 
  • And another landlord claimed a sum in excess of £3,500 for ‘late payment reminders’ when rent was paid a few days late on two occasions. Whilst it is of course accepted that there is a contractual obligation to pay rent on time, the landlord provided no evidence as to the extent of loss he suffered, or the number of reminders he had sent to get the rent paid. The landlord may well have been entitled to some reasonable compensation, but it is hard to see how a sum of over £3,500 for two slightly late payments can be justified.

They’ve also seen equally unreasonable behaviour by tenants, such as: 

  • One who left a huge amount of rubbish in the shed for their landlord to clear out; this included the decomposing body of the tenant’s cat
  • Another who rented a property and erected a completely unauthorised two-storey ‘home office’ extension to the garden shed
  • And a tenant who decided to ‘decorate’ their lounge without the landlord’s permission, using silver foil over the walls. From the photos supplied by the landlord, it looked like a dodgy 1970’s Dr Who set!

These issues could easily have been avoided if the parties had carefully read and understood the full extent of their obligations under the agreement. We’re often surprised at the number of people (tenants in particular) who tell us they didn’t keep a copy of their tenancy agreement. It’s absolutely vital for both parties to have a copy of this document available at all times for reference purposes. A quick check of the terms of the contract could easily avoid a number of the disputes which come to us for decision.

The above are examples of previous cases. Each ADR case is assessed independently by our adjudicators on the basis of the evidence presented to support the claim.

How can landlords improve their chances in a dispute? Guest blog by Pat Barber, AIIC

The DPS recently released figures showing that only 18 per cent of disputes over tenant’s deposits are won by landlords. This statistic could be vastly improved if landlords better protected themselves at the start, during and at the end of a tenancy agreement. For starters, some landlords are failing to put a letting contract in place, or they have very unfair clauses in the contact. Other landlords don’t conduct an adequate check-in and check-out, or don’t keep copies of correspondence with the tenant which could be evidence in a dispute.

It is so important for landlords to ensure they get all the paperwork right at the start and at the end of a new tenancy agreement. Over and over again, we see landlords losing disputes because they can’t provide the right evidence to show that a tenant has damaged the property.

Aside from ensuring there is a fair contract in place at the start of a tenancy agreement, landlords should have a thorough and detailed inventory which will enable both parties to be treated fairly and reasonably. By opening a dialogue and using an independent inventory clerk, disputes can be resolved quicker and without the hassle that is often experienced at the end of a tenancy period.

The AIIC has outlined some guidelines below to help landlords improve their chances in a potential dispute:

-   For new tenancies, landlords should ensure that the property starts the let in a clean and tidy condition. A tatty property will not magically improve by the end of a tenancy and landlords can’t charge their tenants for 'betterment'. Gardens - if your garden is hideously overgrown at the start, don’t expect any improvement on the day of check-out and don’t expect the tenants to put things right for you at their own expense.

-   Always address maintenance issues as soon as they are reported. We come across many cases of minor issues that have become major problems - which the tenant can prove were reported during their tenancy and which the landlord has not bothered to do anything about. This results in a property deteriorating, which in both the long and short term will affect re-letting capabilities and rent achieved.

-   Always have a properly compiled inventory. This will always be much more detailed than a landlord’s own document and will provide vital evidence in any end of tenancy dispute. Your tenants should check and sign their agreement detailing the inventory when they check-in.

-   End of the tenancy - always encourage your tenant to be present during the check out inspection. It is important that they are aware of any problems and chargeable issues to their deposit. This will avoid nasty disputes. Using a deposit scheme dispute service should always be a last resort. The landlord should make every effort to communicate and negotiate with their tenant.

-   Check-outs - use an independent inventory clerk as they will have the knowledge and experience to make sure this process runs smoothly. They can make sensible judgements on normal wear and tear, items that are the tenant's responsibility and landlord's maintenance issues.

-   Photography - detail is vital and fine detail is even better! Take dated photographs of the garden; interior of the shed or garage; inside of the oven; and keys handed over to tenants - these are the main areas of problems that occur and are often down to misinterpretation at the end of a tenancy. Remember, you don’t need photos of every single corner of the property, these are frankly a waste of time and effort (and would be impossible to do) - stick to the important things. Don’t try to produce a completely photographic or filmed inventory without a complete written accompanying inventory. Films and photographs alone will be of little use in a dispute when an adjudicator is trying to find hard evidence of a particular area.  You can bet the problem in question just won’t be something you have photographed in the first place!

-   Make sure your property is fit for letting - on check-in day, the place should be completely clean and any garden areas should be tidy, lawns cut, borders weeded etc. If you don't start correctly, then things definitely won’t improve by check-out day/end of tenancy and you'll end up with a very tatty property, which won’t be let easily. Tenants cannot be charged for improvements - for making good/cleaning things that were wrong at the start and are still wrong at the end of the tenancy.

-   Have a full check-in - where you or the inventory clerk check through every line of the inventory. Add any amendments needed and then ensure that the tenant signs the agreement. When moving out day comes, try to make sure that the tenant is present at the check-out and make sure all the problems are explained - nasty surprises later will cause certain disputes.

-   Always try to keep good communication ongoing with your tenants and encourage them to report any problems as and when they occur during the tenancy. This ensures that your property will stay in as good a condition as possible and will avoid problems at the end of the tenancy.

Pat Barber is Chair of the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC). The AIIC is a not for profit membership organisation and is committed to excellence and professionalism in the property inventory process. The AIIC works hard to ensure that all landlords, tenants and letting agents understand the importance and benefits of professionally completed property inventories.

These opinions are those of the writer and not necessarily those of The Deposit Protection Service.

ADR insight – a claim over white goods

I thought it would be useful to provide you with details of some ADR case histories as an insight into the types of claims our adjudicators handle and how they reach their decision in each case. One such case involved a letting agent who wanted to claim £130.00 for a fridge that was missing when the tenant moved out.

The tenant disputed the claim because when the inventory was signed they also signed an additional form. This form stated that if any white goods at the property failed it was the tenant’s responsibility to remove and dispose of them and they would not be replaced by the landlord.

The tenant’s supporting evidence claimed that the fridge broke during the tenancy, and as per their original agreement with the landlord, they replaced it and notified the letting agent. Once the tenancy ended they took their new fridge with them.

The letting agent claimed that at some point during the tenancy the landlord had requested an alteration to the inventory to include white goods and that a document was drawn up to support this – therefore suggesting the tenants were not in a position to remove the fridge. However, the tenant’s evidence stated that they hadn’t signed a document of this nature.

In their evidence submission, the letting agent provided a copy of the first agreement regarding white goods, which had been signed by the tenant, but didn’t produce a copy of the check-in inventory. In addition, the letting agent submitted a copy of the second document, which indicated that white goods should be added to the inventory, but the document submitted was not signed by the tenant. As this document was unsigned and in view of the tenant disputing that they had never signed such an agreement, there was no evidence to show that the tenant had agreed to the amendment.

In this particular case, the letting agent’s claim failed. The adjudicator accepted the tenant’s submission and supporting evidence which showed that the first agreement was the only one made between the landlord and tenant and the tenant acted in accordance with that agreement.

Our adjudicators say: “If you make amendments to the inventory, or any separate or additional agreement is made with your tenants during the course of the tenancy, then make sure these amendments have been signed and dated by both parties. Otherwise they’re unlikely to carry much weight during the adjudication process.”

The above is an example of a previous case. Each ADR case is assessed independently by our adjudicators on the basis of the evidence presented to support the claim.