By The Deposit Protection Service's head of adjudication Alexandra Coghlan-Forbes
In any adjudication claim involving redecoration costs - where the check-out evidence shows it’s definitely needed - one of the first things the adjudicator will do is look at the check-in inventory to see what state the decor was in when the tenant moved in.
The next check is how long the tenant had lived at the property, referring to guidance from industry bodies such as the Association of Residential Letting Agents for how often a landlord should be expected to redecorate.
In a recent case it was perfectly clear from a detailed check-out report that the property needed complete redecoration. The check-in inventory wasn't quite as good, but the landlord was adamant it had been newly painted when the tenant moved in.
But regardless of the quality of the evidence here, it was immediately obvious to the adjudicator that the tenant shouldn’t be paying for anything.
Why? Because the tenant had lived at the property for over 12 years.
Industry guidance indicates landlords should expect to redecorate every five or six years. After such a long time the landlord should realistically have been expecting to redecorate when the tenant moved out.
The industry guidance would suggest that if a tenant has lived in a property for five or more years (and they are not required by a contract to carry out redecoration themselves) there is little prospect of success in a claim for costs where the tenant hasn't caused the need for redecoration.