Landlords need to get it right from the beginning
February 7th, 2013
A tenant’s deposit is just that. It belongs to the tenant even when it is held by the Landlord for the duration of the letting period.
For a Landlord to take some of the tenant’s deposit to cover damage or cleaning, he has to prove that a change in the state of the property has occurred during the period that the tenant has been in occupancy.
If a tenant doesn’t agree with the Landlord’s claims a formal dispute can be made.
A Landlord will lose this deposit dispute if he cannot provide proof that there has been a detrimental change in the state of the property since the beginning of the tenancy.
It is up to the Landlord to provide this proof. And the only way that he is going to be able to do this is if a detailed tenant check-in inventory report was performed as the tenant checked-in at the beginning of the tenancy.
The inventory report should record the state of the furniture and decorations along with digital photographs as evidence. Invoices or receipts are also helpful documents that indicate age and value.
With both the check-in and check-out inventory reports the Landlord now has clear proof to support his claim to retain part or all of the tenant’s deposit.
So, only if the Landlord gets his proof right at the beginning will he be able to win a deposit dispute at the end.