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  • Deposit Protection

    Deposit dispute - courts or tribunal?

    I understand that if you protect your deposit with the DPS, then any deposit disputes go to the court, unless both parties agree to use the disputes resolution service (i.e. tribunal).

    I have heard a lot of horror stories of the tribunals being pretty anti-landlord. So if a tenant disputed a deduction from a bond, is there a benefit of a landlord agreeing to use the tribunal service instead of the court? I guess the downside of losing the court action would be a court record?

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    Yep I have found Tribunals to be quite anti-Landlord.  

    You stand some chance if you have good documentary evidence, but landlords don’t  get any sympathy or favours ( in my limited experience).
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    Pete

    The Astute Landlord

    I used the arbitration service. I didn't expect to get anything back but got 90 percent returned. However my tenant left early owing some rent after I had served a section 21 which was the lions share which was easy to prove so this did help.  He had burned the carpets but I got nothing for this as they were 6 years old and I only sent one photo (comment back from the arbitration service) so send loads if possible. but because I had an independent check out company state it was left very dirty I also got cleaning charges reimbursed and this was despite the fact that cleanliness was not stated in the initial inventory report (only condition). My claim was for more than the deposit so because of this I got most of it back. If you do a good report backed up with evidence you stand a good chance. My tenant lied throughout but was unable to back anything up and hence he failed. It took several months but was worth it.
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    Thanks for the replies everyone. In my case, the proposed deduction due to damage is less than the total bond (held on insured basis), so I believe I can just refund the balance and it is up to the tenant to raise the dispute about the withheld amount through the tribunal or court. I think I would prefer to defend myself in court - it seems to have a higher chance of having a reasoned decision.
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    You are right and your tenant may not contest it so well worth a try.

    Whilst I am absolutely guessing I think the courts may take a dim view of refusal to go to arbitration  (even though they offer the choice) especially if it is not for the full amount. But I might be completely wrong.

    Good luck though. It will be useful to update everyone as to how you get on. If you are confident of your evidence I think you will be successful either way from my own experience. Wear and tear depreciation is the worst thing they factor in in my view.
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    Check with your deposit scheme if you can leave to the tenant to raise the dispute.  You may need to send the balance of the money to the deposit scheme and raise the dispute within a set time.
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