Any HMO landlord in England will agree that handling deposit disputes can be a particularly challenging part of managing their property. In fact, 2022 has seen a rise in the number of deposit disputes across the UK, so how can HMO landlords prevent deposit disputes arising?
Why Do Deposit Disputes Arise?
There are several reasons why a deposit dispute may arise between a HMO tenant and their landlord, but half of all disputes are due to cleaning claims. Damages to fittings and fixtures come in at a close second, with rent arrears in third place. Clearly, landlords are entitled to deduct money from the tenant’s deposit if they need to pay for a deep clean or replace or repair damaged items, but how can deposit disputes be prevented?
Here are four ways HMO landlords in England can minimise deposit disputes.
1. Create Accurate and Detailed Inventories
One of the most important things you can do as a HMO landlord is to ensure that you’ve drawn up an accurate and detailed inventory that includes the condition of all the rooms and furnishings within them, and with photographs attached.
Whenever a new tenant moves into the property, they must agree to the inventory and sign to acknowledge their agreement regarding the items included and their condition. This means that when it’s time for them to move out, there’s a clear record in place that allows you to easily check whether any furniture, fittings, or fixtures have been damaged during the tenancy.
2. Inspect the Property Regularly
It’s always recommended to inspect HMO properties in England regularly; either quarterly or monthly. Not only should the property be inspected, but the inspection report should also be assessed, and action taken to address any issues arising from it.
By doing this, landlords can stay up to date about any damage to rooms or furnishings before the tenant moves out. Of course, when a tenant vacates, a full checkout inspection must be carried out too, and that will be the deciding factor for any deposit deductions due to damage or cleanliness.
3. Give Tenants Clear Moving-Out Information
Once a tenant’s moving-out data is agreed, it’s wise to provide them with clear details so that know what they need to do and how to prepare for leaving the property. Information should be included about removing waste and cleaning, along with details about how checkout inspections and the return of deposits works. Tenants will then be well-prepared for the standard of cleanliness that’s required.
4. Communicate Deductions Clearly to Tenants
If any deductions need to be made due to cleaning issues, rent arrears, damage, or a utility overspend, these need to be communicated to the tenant. HMO Landlords in England must have documented evidence that will back up the amount they have deducted so that they can justify the amount that they are withholding.
Are you a Landlord Struggling with a HMO Tenancy Dispute?
Managing tenancy deposit disputes is just one of the challenges of managing a HMO property. However, the team here at The HMO Network are experts and are on hand to help. We can take over every aspect of managing your HMO property in England, including handling tenancy disputes on your behalf. Drop an email to email@example.com or give us a call on 01245 835859 today.