CPS Homes estate agents conduct a check-out inspection with the outgoing tenant(s), where we assess the condition of the property on your behalf; referring to the signed inventory from the beginning of the tenancy and noting any cleaning, repairs or redecoration required. Our report states what repairs come under the liability of the tenant and what comes under fair wear and tear. We conduct this inspection in the presence of the tenant as it allows us to agree any potential deposit deductions there and then - minimising the potential for dispute further down the line. We also invite landlords to join us during the check-out inspection.
We attempt to recover any reasonable losses from tenants’ deposit where applicable, with the most common claims being made to cover the following: -
As long as the property was provided to the tenants in a clean state and free of any refuse when they moved in, we expect it to be returned to the same standard. Any rent arrears or outstanding fees (such as unpaid call-out fees) will also be claimed from the deposit in full.
Other issues, such as issues with décor, damages and missing items will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. It’s rare that the full cost of new items required can be claimed as we must avoid betterment, which means the landlord ends up better off as a result of the claim being made against the tenant. For example, as a guide, a tenanted property should receive a full re-paint after 4 years’ use (although this will vary largely depending on the type of tenancy in place). If a property then requires a re-paint after 2 years, the landlord would benefit if the full cost of re-painting was deducted from the tenant’s deposit. As only 50% of the décor’s expected lifespan was reached, we could reasonably expect to claim 50% of the cost of re-painting from the tenants’ deposit. We use current industry guidelines (such as that given by ARLA or the Deposit Protection Service) to calculate a suitable amount of compensation.
You can choose how involved you would like to be in the deposit return process. Some landlords are happy for us to handle and deal with all aspects of it - including instructing works and determining compensation costs - whereas other landlord prefer to take a more hands-on approach and deal with much of the remedial work themselves. In either case, we will assist in the return of the deposit and ensure landlords are reasonably compensated where due.
If the tenant is disputing their deposit return, we will first attempt to resolve the dispute amicably between tenant and landlord. We ask the tenant to detail in writing why they feel the amount claimed is unjust. If the landlord is in agreement with the tenant’s claim(s), then sometimes both parties can mutually agree on an amount to be deducted.
If an agreement can’t be reached, then sometimes the case needs to be entered into arbitration. With the Deposit Protection Service (DPS), with whom we protect all deposits as standard, this is referred to as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). In the event that a deposit dispute enters ADR, we will provide evidence on your behalf to support the claim, and the tenant will provide evidence to support their own claim. An independent adjudicator then decides the outcome of the claim, and their decision is final.
If the tenant is no longer contactable – for example if they have moved to another country – then we must make a 'single claim' to recover funds from the deposit. We can begin this process after 14 days’ written notice being provided to the tenant.
If you missed the previous parts of our tenancy guide for landlords, you can catch up below.