Ask TDS: How are tenant claims handled?

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is a government approved scheme for the protection of tenancy deposits; we offer both insured and custodial protection. We also provide fair adjudication for disputes that arise over the tenancy deposits that we protect. This article has been written in response to a tenant’s query: “How are tenant deductions charged?”


At the end of a tenancy, it may be that the landlord feels there has been a breach of contract and that they have suffered a loss due to this breach. They may put in a claim for cleaning costs or redecoration, for example, from the tenant’s deposit. We know that if tenants and landlords disagree over the landlord’s claim then it can be sent to the deposit scheme for alternative dispute resolution (ADR), but what happens when the tenant is making a claim?

 Can ADR be used for tenant claims on a landlord?

The simple answer is no. Deposit Protection Schemes such as TDS offer ADR for disputes over the tenant’s deposit. The deposit is held by the landlord as security against the tenant’s obligations under the tenancy agreement. The deposit is not held as security against the landlord’s obligations.

Although tenants are able to raise disputes, their disputes must be regarding the deposit i.e. its lack of return, or their disagreement over the landlord/agent’s potential claims.

 I’ve spent money on the property that the landlord owes me – how do I claim this back if not through ADR?

If a tenant has paid out for services or improved the property to the benefit the landlord, then they may wish to seek compensation from the landlord – however not through a deposit scheme. Any tenant wishing to make a claim against their landlord would need to seek legal advice and potentially take their landlord to court.

 Can I just withhold rent for the amount they owe me?

Sometimes we receive counter-claims from the tenant saying that they accept that they did not pay their rent, but that it was because something happened in the property, and as a result they suffered a loss. For example, the washing machine was out of order for some time, or a leak in the ceiling caused damage to their things. We are unable to take such set-off issues, or counter-claims into account, and can only adjudicate on the non-payment of rent. Should the tenant wish to pursue their claim, they will need to do that through the courts or come to an arrangement directly with the landlord.


In conclusion, TDS cannot take tenants’ claims against the landlord into account, and suggest that any tenants wishing to seek compensation from their landlord seek legal advice.

 


Posted by Zoe Knighton on 13 April 2017

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