The Adjudicator takes a recent decision by a TDS Adjudicator and sets out the reasoning behind the decision. The aim of these digest reports is to help tenants, landlords and agents better understand how we make our adjudication decisions.

The names of the landlords and tenants involved have been removed and this is only a brief summary of the dispute.

The Landlord’s Claim

The landlords claimed for cleaning at the end of the tenancy, and a late departure charge for failing to return the keys to the agent’s office, at the agreed time on the date the tenants left the property. 

The Tenant’s Response

The tenants disputed the cleaning claim saying that the property was not clean when they moved in, and that it was left cleaner at the end of the tenancy. 

The tenants provided photographs taken at the start of the tenancy to support their position. However, on review, the

What the Evidence Showed

The check-in report provided showed the general standard of cleanliness of the property to be clean. While the tenant’s comments were noted, there was no evidence that the tenants either amended the check-in report to reflect their concerns or notified the agent or landlord of their dissatisfaction with the standard of cleanliness when the tenancy began.  The tenant’s photographs went more to the condition of various areas and items within the property and did not provide any useful level of detail as to cleanliness.

No check-out report or other supporting evidence was provided to show the standard of cleanliness at the end of the tenancy.  Without evidence of the standard of cleanliness at the end of the tenancy, it was not possible for the adjudicator to make a comparison with the recorded standard at the start of the tenancy, and an award was not able to be considered.

While the tenancy agreement required the tenants to vacate the property and return the keys no later than a specified time, and that failure to return the keys would result in an administrative charge, such a fee is not listed as a permitted payment within the Tenant Fees Act. Therefore, the charge was not permitted, and no award was made.

What are the key points here?

  • Claims should be substantiated with documentary evidence.  Check out our guide to Inventories, check-in and check-out reports for the level of detail required to be captured.
  • Ensure that any concerns at the start of the tenancy, such as in this case, as to the standard of cleanliness are notified to the agent/landlord and recorded.
  • Be aware of legislation, such as the Tenant Fees Act, which permits only the charging to tenants of certain limited fees.  Visit our guidance here.
  • Our integration with The Depositary is making end of tenancy a smoother, faster experience for everyone involved. Click here to discover more.  
  • Book a place on our TDS Academy – Foundation Course and Adjudication Workshops. Limited places are still available. 
  • We also run on-demand courses with our Partner Inventory Hive, so book now and view at your leisure.
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