The Right Way For Landlords To Make A Tenancy Deposit Claim

Landlord Tenancy Deposit Compensation Claim

Sweet Christ, I’ve just been unexpectedly reacquainted with a forgotten old gem, and now I can’t stop myself from blowing off the cobwebs and showing it off. I feel like I’ve found a Russian bride at the bottom of my old gym bag. I need to share this with the entire world.

Only it’s just an email.

Donkeys ago I received a wonderfully insightful email from an actual tenancy deposit claims adjudicator (at least, that’s what he claimed to be. He could have been my milkman from 1990 for all I know), in which he explains the process he goes through when assessing a claim, and what he would ideally like to receive as supporting evidence from landlords in order to maximise their chances of making a successful claim.

In short, the adjudicator explains:

  • How landlords can make a Tenancy Deposit compensation claim the right way
  • How to compile a better inventory

I appreciate this won’t directly be useful for most landlords *today* as it’s a very in the moment issue, but it’s definitely a page to bookmark or preferably, tattoo onto your ass for future reference – because most landlords will likely try and make a claim one day, it’s perfectly normal.

Sadly, tenancy deposit claims favour the tenant from the offset, meaning that many landlords are destined to take a big, fat L when attempting to make a claim. Although, I get it, because of the following reasons:

  • Tenancy deposit regulations need to be properly complied with in order to make a claim;
  • the burden of proof is on the landlord;
  • landlords often rely on a piss poor inventory (a.k.a condition report) and/or don’t have any substantial evidence to support their claims;
  • the evidence is often poorly presented.

It’s also worth noting that most claims will be swiftly escorted off the premises if:

  • You don’t have a tenancy agreement signed by both landlord and tenant.
  • You don’t have a signed check-in and check-out inventory report (so many landlords are guilty of this, and it’s a sick crime! *death stare*).

Okay, so, let’s move onto the meat and potatoes. The email. Hopefully the contents of it can help swing the pendulum in our favour if the time comes (if there is any justice in this world that bloody day shall never arrive. So no doubt it will eventually!).

Side note: the adjudicator requested to remain anonymous. Obviously I was more than happy to oblige, I’m not a savage after all. So in order to protect his anonymity and for ease, I’m going to call him Fanny from now on. I’ve also taken it upon myself to give Fanny a backstory so you can really engage with the character. I feel it’s important to build trust.

Fanny’s true passion is acting, but sadly he’s one of those “struggling actors”. His parents are naturally disappointed, but Fanny is defiant and driven, and that’s exactly why he decided to became a claims adjudicator – it allows him to earn some spare cash on the side (a job that can be accomplished in between auditions).

He did land one relatively lucrative role when he was younger, which enabled him to invest wisely into property. But ever since then, it’s been an endless struggle. You’ve likely seem him loitering around the market square in EastEnders as an extra (or as Fanny likes to call it, an “atmosphere role”).

Fanny remains hopeful.

Tenancy Deposit Claims Adjudicator’s recommendations [for when making a claim]…


I am an adjudicator and have done over 100 landlord and tenant deposit adjudications. I also own quite a lot of residential property so certainly understand things from a landlord’s perspective.

Adjudicators, most of whom are legally qualified and self-employed, typically get paid *£100 to do an adjudication, so do not expect an adjudicator to want to spend more than 2 or 3 hours adjudicating your dispute. Brevity, relevance and precision is what a landlord should try to achieve with evidence.

*This may not be the rate today in 2022.

What the adjudicator does NOT want to see…

My heart sinks when I receive a video inventory. Some last an hour, and one recent so called professional video had over 15 minutes on the tiny garden and exterior of the property. It is not for the adjudicator to formulate a landlord’s case and find the evidence, so I often ignore or fast forward videos where the landlord does not refer to the precise place in the video where what is in dispute can be seen.

I’m not impressed with most photos I receive, it is not so much that dates can be altered (Fanny is referring to the date stamp generated by cameras, which can be easily manipulated – I covered this topic in my How Landlords Should Take Photos For An Inventory blog post), it is the quality of the photos that are terrible (it is often unclear what the photo is supposed to show) and the enormous number of irrelevant photos that are sent. In one recent dispute I received 200 photos virtually all of which were not relevant to the dispute. It is not my job to work out which photos are relevant.

The burden of proof is on the landlord

Many landlords do not understand that the Landlord has to prove their entitlement to the tenant deposit and must provide evidence. So often inventories count spoons but most disputes revolve round condition rather than numbers of spoons. If a landlord is claiming for repainting a room I want to know when it was last decorated, how much it cost to decorate and the condition on check in and check out. Photos of loads of walls are not much help. Professional photos that are integral to a check in/out report are useful but not a folder of 300 photos.

My check in reports on my properties are very brief, “bedroom 1, decorated date, unmarked wall, carpet 100% wool new date, burn mark size of a 10p piece by door” etc

I am sure landlords and indeed their agents would be much more successful if they presented their case briefly saying:

  • what the dispute was over
  • evidence of CONDITION at check in
  • evidence of CONDITION at check out
  • evidence of cost to repair/replace ( or hours spent if actually done by landlord)

Whilst before/after photos can back up a point in a check in/out report it is no substitute for a good check in CONDITION report.

What the adjudicator wants from the Landlord

As an adjudicator I have no interest in anything other than the dispute and I really do not want to see photos of matters that are not in dispute. If I may be permitted to rant further, there is only one thing that annoys me more than lengthy videos and that is Landlords, or normally their agents, who send long strings of emails i.e. the same email repeated many times.

The best landlord claims on the deposit have a simple summary spreadsheet at the front – by way of example:

Tenancy deposit claims breakdown
ClaimAmountCheck in refCheck out refInvoice
Repaint bed 1£300Para 2.9Para 4.4xyz painters
Damaged kitchen unit£200Para 4.2Para 5.7abc kitchens
Gardening£150Para 5.7Para 8.2See Schedule A

That way the adjudicator cannot possibly miss anything in dispute or indeed any of the evidence.

In many cases, the tenant states they never saw the check in/check out reports or they were not accurate, so I always email the reports to the Tenant so have evidence of when sent etc.

In the above case, the landlord ended up having to resolve some maintenance issues in the garden, even though it was the tenant’s responsibility. So the Gardening claim schedule might read:

Schedule A Gardening claim – £150
The tenant’s gardening obligation can be seen as clause 5.6 of the Tenancy Agreement. At the commencement of the tenancy the garden was in excellent condition as evidenced by para 5.6 of the check in report which says “hedge cut, grass cut, patio weed free” At check out the grass appeared not to have been cut for over a month, the hedge had not been cut since the start of the tenancy, the patio was covered in weeds. Cigarette ends and broken bicycle parts were left over the garden. The check out report para 8.2 augmented by dated photographs shows the condition of the garden at check out was substantially worse than at check in. The landlord undertook the gardening work himself.

Schedule A – Gardening
Cut grass2 hours at £25 ph including landlords lawnmower/fuel£50
Cut hedge2 hours at £15 ph£30
Spray weedkiller on patio1 hour at £15 ph£15 can of weedkiller from B&Q (see receipt)
Removal of rubbishRemoval of rubbish to tip 30 miles at 45 per mile, plus plastic sacks, plus 2 hours at £15 ph£45

… and cut!

There we have it.

Thank you kindly, Fanny. That was beautiful.

Obviously I’ve only shared the perspective of one alleged adjudicator, so it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s what all adjudicators want or expect from landlords when they file a claim. However, I think it’s fair to say that it’s a sensible format to follow.

I think it’s also worth noting that this guidance isn’t intended to validate any claims, it’s just highlighting how to effectively submit evidence to a tenancy deposit claims adjudicator to help increase the chances of winning. If the substance of your actual claim is total codswallop, that’s on you, and a totally different issue altogether. But at least you now know how to submit your garbage claim in a decent format. Good luck.

These are the key points I took away from the email…

Top tips for making a Tenancy Deposit Compensation Claim

  • Brevity, relevance and precision is what a landlord should try to achieve with evidence! In other words, don’t submit irrelevant tosh:
    • If correspondence between the landlord and tenant is part of the evidence, only provide the relevant emails/chat logs.
    • If you are submitting a video inventory, provide a timestamp of where the relevant evidence is.
    • If submitting photos, only provide relevant ones (i.e. before and after pics of the item in dispute), and not dozens of photos of the same thing or of matters that are not in dispute.
    • If an agent is submitting a claim on your behalf, check to see if they’re not guilty of the above!
  • Providing irrelevant and excessive evidence may hinder your chances of a successful claim.
  • It is NOT the adjudicator’s job to find the evidence. If you make them work too hard, it could lead to critical evidence being missed.
  • Quality of the photos are important.
  • The burden of proof is on the landlord, which means landlords will need to persuade the adjudicator with sensible evidence (but be truthful, don’t just make shit up or garnish the details, otherwise you could threaten your entire case).
  • Providing evidence in a summary spreadsheet is a good idea (as per the example provided).
  • Landlords and their agents would likely be much more successful with their claims if they presented their case briefly stating:
    • what the dispute was over
    • evidence of CONDITION at check in
    • evidence of CONDITION at check out
    • evidence of cost to repair/replace (or hours spent if actually done by landlord)
  • Yes, photos are useful to backup a point in a check in/out report, but it is no substitute for a good check in condition inventory/report.

Use this information in conjunction with the guidance provided by your tenancy deposit scheme

Deposit Protection Service, MyDeposits and Tenancy Deposit Scheme all have their own guides on how to make a successful claim.

I’ve read through them and they’re useful (but all very same-same) so definitely worth consuming before making a claim. However, they clearly don’t provide the same valuable insight only available from someone in the trenches, like Fanny, who actually has to plough through our relentless drivel and make the decisions.

The fanny-tastic information we have been gifted not only helps us to better organise and present evidence, but also allows us to retrospectively compile better inventories in the future.

Using a professional inventory clerk

Before I peace out, I do want to mention that while doing your own inventory report independently is perfectly valid (and cost-effective), it’s generally not as reliable as using a professional inventory clerk, least of all because of the impartiality they bring to the table. (one of three Government approved deposit schemes) states the following:

The adjudicator will use the inventories to compare the property condition at the beginning and end of the tenancy and without it, they’re highly likely to reject the landlord’s claim.

Those considered to be the best evidence will usually:

  • have been prepared by a third party such as a professional inventory clerk
  • contain dated photos
  • have been signed by the tenant offers a service which you can easily order/book online (it’s a shameless affiliate link, but that’s certainly not why I’m sharing their service. I’m open to other recommendations as long as they’re not total bullshit)…

Professional Inventory and Condition Report
SupplierNotes / IncludesFrom Price
Notes / Includes

  • A must have report for deposit disputes
  • Photos, readings & smoke alarms
  • Approve digitally with ease
  • Make a deposit claim easy
  • Inventory clerks are accredited by the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC)

*The cost of the landlord inventory service is determined by the size of the property, the number of bedrooms and whether the property is to be let furnished or unfurnished. Cost starts from £89 (with discount code).

*£89Inc VAT
(Normal price: £99)
Visit website

£10 Discount Code: PIP10

Please note, I try my best to keep the information of each service up-to-date, but you should read the T&C's from their website for the most up-to-date and accurate information.

If you have any experience with making a Tenancy Deposit compensation claim, I’d love to hear your story (“love” is a bit strong, but it would be cool), and what would be even better is if you have any nuggets to share!

Once again, big thanks to Fanny for dropping the wisdom.

I’m outie xoxo

P.s. I hope you never actually have to rely on this information, because that would suck balls. But I’m here for you if you do.

21 Join the Conversation...

Guest Avatar
David Lees 6th October, 2022 @ 09:42

So here’s a familiar problem. Tenant doesn’t sign and return the inventory. I’ve asked, I’ve emailed, I didn’t go and knock on the door as they moved in May 2020 when Covid first had us hunkered down indoors. I’ve done inspections and the place is a mess. I told the tenant verbally what he needed to do to put things right. I’m there again next week and fully expect to be putting it all in writing as I doubt he will have done anything I asked. When he eventually moves out I’m estimating it’ll probably cost me about £4K to sort the place out and without a signed inventory I’m not hopeful I’ll even be able to put his deposit towards the cost😳.

Guest Avatar
Christine Everson 6th October, 2022 @ 09:48

Hi Lordy
Great article, really good advice and made me laugh alot. I loved the back story, Fanny's character really shone through. ha ha
I have recently started getting a prof inventory and check in/check out service. It really makes a huge difference and the tenants definitely take it more seriously - compared to when i do it!! Well worth the money (£70), alot less stress for me...... and the house is handed back in clean and in good condition! It pays for itself! I will never do the check in/out ever again!!
Christine :)

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 6th October, 2022 @ 10:18

Ah, man that sucks. Sorry to hear that.

My main advice would be just to ensure you always leave behind a paper trial so you have sufficient proof of your efforts (sounds like you're doing that anyways).

If you have email proof that shows you have made reasonable efforts to get the tenant to confirm the inventory, I think it will hinder their defense as opposed to yours!

Best of luck, David!

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 6th October, 2022 @ 10:21

Thanks, @Christine, appreciate it :)

Ha, to be honest, I think you'd have to be a monster not to be touched by Fanny's story. He's just a good guy chasing his dreams.

Completely agree, using a pro inventory service is definitely good value!

Guest Avatar
Max Robson 6th October, 2022 @ 10:27


I’ve tried and successfully claimed against 2 tenants and lost against one.

I’ll start with the loss. This guy turned out to be a drug taking loser. He ended up doing an IVA to get out of it. I will have my pound of flesh one day! He cost me thousands in damage and threw nails and glass in the gravel to hurt the next tenant.

The other 2 I won against at least in part.

I followed due process and did a handover (I did and they failed to attend, dropping keys off through the door.

I play the nice card here and offer them more time and warn them that it’s not right. If they don’t take up my offer I get the boys in and repair. I do some of the work too and charge for my time.

Then the bill goes out and they have 28 days to pay or even set up a payment plan and if they fail it’s off to small claims court but by the time it reached mediation they want to talk.

Everything is transparent and shared photos help on that fruit logo tech giant!

I accept a payment plan and get money every month from them. Sure it’s £3k and £4k for the rent arrears and damage but if they fail to pay it’s back off to court for the full amount and they have paid so far.
One even paid £1k off in one go! Result.

I’ve got another claim coming soon. Wish me luck!

Guest Avatar
Lorraine Seavers 6th October, 2022 @ 10:40

Very interesting - have you any advice over how to deal where your agents employ the inventory company. The inventory is done by their staff who photo every scratched surface or worn area of wallpaper; previous damp marks etc but totally fail to notice that items are present like a £100 ladder; a garden for and spade or a fire hydrant and completely fail to put this on the inventory. They may list there are curtains but might not photo them or give any further information as to the make, quality or material the curtains were made of.

You as the landlord write immediately to the agency and request this omission is rectified but the agent states it’s now too late to change the inventory. Your tenant leaves and you go to see the property and find the fire hydrants ladder have disappeared - so have your expensive lined curtains have been replaced by cheap voil ones and fitted lamp shades only to be replaced by white paper globes.

You try to claim for these and your agency shrugs their shoulders and says you can swivel for them as they were either not on the inventory and your email pointing out these items were not on the inventory from x years ago is not proof they were ever at the property - by the way the tenants have left curtains and a lamp shade so what is the problem. When there are major problems - such as a broken gutter causing a damp problem the agents haven’t reported to you or picked up on during site inspections you are left trying to find contractors to sort and repair the damage, but the agency walks away accepting no responsibility for the extent of the damage as this issue has clearly been going on for some time.

Guest Avatar
Clive 6th October, 2022 @ 10:47

Another great article and so funny to read - thank you! Makes me realise my comprehensive inventory's are probably in way to much detail. I did attempt to record a supporting video on my last inventory but it was too large to email and essentially get the tenant to agree. I guess the way to do this would be to record on the 'move in' day, and ask the tenant to appear in the video and confirm the date etc. Although I guess they could decline?

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 6th October, 2022 @ 12:52


Crickey, you seem like a seasoned pro at disputes/claims! Ha.

At least they're making the payments, so that's good.

Best of luck for the next one!!

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 6th October, 2022 @ 13:01


Damn, that sounds very frustrating, and I'm sorry to hear that.

To be honest, I'm not really sure what to suggest I'm afraid.

I guess the takeaway is to be present during the inventory and ensure you're happy with it before the inventory clerk leaves. That doesn't help you now, but for future reference I mean.

My only other thought is that if you feel your agent has been negligent, you could file a claim against them. But it really depends on whether you think that would be worth your time.

The agents lack of attention to detail during inspections was always a massive issue for me, and I think it's a widespread issue. In one instance, there was OBVIOUSLY an issue of mould in the bathroom (the tenants were not ventilating) but the agent never mentioned anything to me. I don't know whether he was blind as a bat or just couldn't be bothered to report the issue.

I early on realised that I'm better off doing them myself, and that's one of the reason why I don't use agents to manage my properties anymore.

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 6th October, 2022 @ 13:08

Thanks @Clive, appreciate it.

So, I don't think having a comprehensive inventory is necessarily a problem. I think the issue is submitting more evidence than you need to, which ultimately wastes the adjudicators time and can distract them from the actual dispute. So that may just mean you need to be selective with what part of the inventory you submit as evidence.

In regards to the video, yeah, you could get them to feature in the video. But like you said, they would need to agree to that (but presumably, most decent tenants wouldn't have an issue with that, and it would be weird if they did). Another possible solution is to privately upload it YouTube, send the link to the tenant, and get them to confirm they have watched it and are happy with it. You could also use a free service like to send the video to them. We got options :)

Guest Avatar
Grumpy Bear 6th October, 2022 @ 14:26

Well, I have some good news from a happy reader, re the TDS scheme.

My worse Tenents ever decided to leave my house in a similar state to the bottom of a kennel.
Despite the signed agreement stating no pets, they moved in 2 dogs & many rabbits, & were so lazy they never even picked up the huge deposits of crap all over the garden. The neighbours had to call environmental health several times during the summer months, as they were worried that if their kids went into their own back garden, they would die from Cholera or worse,
After chucking them out, I found the Tenents drilled well over 100 holes in the walls, wrecked the carpets, shower, kitchen & so much more.
They abandoned a wrecked car in the parking area which they also used as an alternative rubbish store.
But after the appropriate legal notices were given, I got my local scrap yard to remove it & they crushed it - YEEHAA - Oh SO Very satisfying !
And there was so much more too……… but I will stop now before the growing flashbacks cause a heart attack.

The deposit was lodged with the TDS & their process was not as fast as I hoped it to be, but Covid had just started & the world was going crazy.
But as your friendly Fanny says, it’s all about relevant detail & evidence.
I have always used an independent inventory company & their photo & text evidence in the reports was very clear & was my key evidence here.

I also took my own detailed photos & video taken when I arrived at the property too, which I supplemented with photos of the same items after cleaning, repairing or replacing later.
I provided the TDS with a detailed report itemising photo & receipt evidence & showing all my costs incurred to rectify the property.

Another thing I also had - which I really recommend too - is also I asked my neighbours to write a report for me, listing the bad conditions, again together with their evidential photos.

Bottom line - The TDS did not ask me for any further info, they awarded the full deposit to me to cover my costs.

So, my key takeaway is the cost of a quality & independent inventory report was worth is definitely worth paying for. Also, use the same company too, so there is consistency with the moving in, vs moving out reports too.

Guest Avatar
David 6th October, 2022 @ 15:42

Hey Flossy et al

It would be worth reminding all Landlords and Tenants that they need to be truthful, so do not fake things because once you are caught in a lie or even a technical mistake, it will NOT end well in Court. A Judge will NOT believe ANYTHING you say if you are caught in a lie.

I have dealt with hundreds of claims for both Landlords and Tenants, for the latter claims are often only made AFTER the Tenant had started a deposit protection claim.

This is such a dumb move, in my experience it ends up costing Landlords at least £2000 and up to £10,000 in legal costs.

The second dumbest stunt is about checkouts and check-ins, even if you use a third party you should make every attempt to have the tenant present when the inventories are done, if the tenant can't be there for the inventory at the beginning of the Tenancy they should be given 30 days to bring up any issue AFTER they have signed it. This is because some things are not apparent straight away. If a Tenant is not present for the outgoing inventory then the person carrying out the inventory can say things like "the old inventory shows 5 chairs" and the Tenant can point out to the dopey twit that one of the chairs is in the adjoining study.

Either way the Tenant should be given an prompt opportunity to dispute the report, otherwise it is practically worthless, so build this into your processes and procedures.

These companies produce 96 page reports and some narrative but they often miss things, things that the Tenant and Landlord are aware of.

The two most common areas of dispute are carpet staining and mould. Carpets can be cleaned and there treatments that cover up stains, but those stains show as the carpet is used and vacuumed. So any tenant that discovers such stains should IMMEDIATELY report them to the Landlord so that they may make a complaint to the previous tenant. I have also questioned whether it was fair and reasonable to expect a Tenant to protect a carpet when it was installed in the kitchen and likely to get covered in greasy spills.

When it comes to mould many Landlords think it is enough to clean the mould with bleach and paint over it, maybe even with mould resistant paint. This is a mistake, mould is a living thing, it's spores can live in the walks and be activated by temperature and dampness that is environmental as well as by cooking, bathing, showers, drying clothes without ventilation and so on. It needs to be professionally treated!

Obviously one can have terms in a tenancy agreement to try and mitigate tenancy activities that encourage mould, but you can't mitigate against an inherent problem and you can't expect a Tenant to foot the bill or have onerous terms that prevent their quiet enjoyment of the property because of an issue in the building.

All a tenant has to do is get a Surveyor to write a report saying it was an inherent issue and you the Landlord are done for plus you end up paying for the report. In one case where the battle and costs were huge, the Freeholder held the building insurance, the Landlord had the usual 99 year lease, there was a flood from the 9th floor where the leaseholder was resident and had some works carried out adding an en-suite shower and putting in new fittings for the washing machine and dishwasher. I seem to remember there was some water treatment device too.

The resident Leaseholder was out of the Country when the flood occurred and it really was a flood, the 8th and 7th floor lost their ceilings but the water went into all the gaps in the building leaked into all ceilings and wall crevices. The insurance companies had battles because there were huge liabilities, but eventually it was all settled, except for the ongoing damp. Humidifiers were used in each of the flats but not in the gaps (as suggested in the surveyors report), as a result the mould formed a into disgusting monster that came into the flats every year. The Tenant was able to find out about this historic event from other owners and occupiers, then show that the issue was inherent.

I do not know why mould is so hard to deal with for most Landlords when some Housing Associations are so good at it. For most it comes down to professional treatment which is systemic, ventilation strips / bricks and advising tenants to open windows after they shower or dry clothes. Also never turning off a bathroom fan which should be of the type that come on automatically and always using the kitchen extractor fan.

The fundamental thing is that the property needs to be returned in the SAME condition as when it was provided, save wear and tear, you do not get new for old.

You can't just devolve this to a third party company or an agent, the latter will almost ALWAYS let you down and to be honest I have discredited many a "professional" inventory company report. The most memorable was on a Central London property that cost over £100k to rent per annum. The report was nearly 200 pages long but the receipts were proven to be fake as was an invoice from a builder.

It is important to remember that there can be no betterment, tenants are not there to fund your new boiler or your decorating fund. That means that your receipt for £200 to repair kitchen units or £300 for the bed have to have age applied.

I had a case last year where the Landlord was claiming for a burn on the work surface of the kitchen. No inventory was done, never mind agreed with the tenant, they faked the photos which we were able to prove and in any event, the kitchen was well over 25 years old. In any such situation, the reasonable life of the item will be considered, typically 6 to 12 years from the date of a valid receipt with serial numbers if appropriate. You can expect to get a pro rata claim bases on the depreciation or nothing at all if it exceeds the expected reasonable life of the item claimed.

We were able to get many elements kicked out because of the lack of receipt of the original purchases. The Landlord invented an issue with the oven and tried to blame the Tenant, ironically the previous Tenant had come back for some mail and asked was it OK for them to leave their oven as they got it from Freecycle and would be happy to advertise it on there if it was an issue. The new tenant had the foresight to grab the email address of the old tenant and an email trail showed the true events. Once the Judge saw the blatant attempt they threw out every claim of the Landlord, they simply chose to side with the Tenant because of the lie.

So my advice to Landlords is do your inventory, use a third party such shown at the end of the article BUT give the Tenant a copy of the inventory and give them 30 days to bring to your attention any issues they dispute, else as per the term in the Tenancy Agreement will be deemed to have accepted the inventory report as a true reflection of the state of the property when the occupancy was started. THIS NEEDS TO BE PROMINENT and in writing not just buried in the contract as it is a core term. SO Any dispute of the inventory should be done at the earliest opportunity, This goes for both Landlords and Tenants for both reports.

When it comes to photos, DO take millions and back them up with video that goes in and out to show damage or the lack of it, but only show the ones that are relevant UNLESS you are trying to show that the Tenant allowed the property to become a hovel. Remember you need explicit consent to take photos DURING the tenancy at inspections.

If you want to date stamp your inventory store the them on a cloud service AND put a hidden video on the inventory on YouTube. The dates need to match the dates of the tenancy, you can't rely on the one you did 5 years ago for a tenancy from the last two years. Remember, investigators have ways of finding data on the web even if they are not there now, also figuring out if things have been changed.

Remember that you should not let the LORD in Landlord go to your head, when you let a property the Tenant has the right to quiet enjoyment of the property, so not to be overly disturbed or harassed. You don't have automatic rights of access even if you put such terms in your Tenancy Agreement. Emergency Access only allows for contractors not for Landlords or viewings, while inspections can be a grey area when they are onerous, or not done at mutually agreed dates and times.

I honestly believe that the trick is how you manage the Landlord Tenant relationship, do not be too formal or act too entitled, but at the same time remember that familiarity breeds contempt. Try to behave like a service provider but remember to curb the expectations of the tenant, this article explains about Landlord repairs:

One final word, try to use alternative dispute resolution services such as the one provided by Fanny because going to Court is far more expensive.

Guest Avatar
David 6th October, 2022 @ 16:01

@Max Robson

Your Tenants did the worst thing possible, keys through letterbox is a really dumb move, it invites certain Landlords to invent anything they want, but it is also putting head in the sand. If you don't return the property in same condition as it was when let, then own it.

You did the right thing to give them time to query and repair the alleged damages, this is called mitigating their loss.

You would not usually succeed in Court in claiming for work you do yourself, always use a professional.

The threat of going to Court are often enough, but remember the "professional bad tenants" do a DRO and your claim is worthless after year if their circumstances do not improve.

Also if your damages including rent arrears exceed £10k then your claim will not be in the Small Claims Court and so they will be liable for your legal costs. Do not let this be a temptation to exaggerate the the real costs, including depreciation as I mentioned in post above, but just for those awful cases.

Overall I will say prevention is better than cure or in two words, TENANT REFERENCING

Guest Avatar
David 6th October, 2022 @ 16:27

@Lorraine Seavers

It is no secret that I think 99% of Agents are totally useless, even the big ones because they often employ brainless dweebs who think an inspection is just about checking the seals on the bath.

That being said I am sensing a little bit of entitlement creeping in, the reality is that NOBODY is going to look after your property the way you do.

I very much doubt that the terms of ANY Agent in the UK include inspecting the gutters, more likely you will need to define service levels and pay for a maintenance person to clear the gutters and put the wire that repels the things that the wind blows into them.

In any event you can't put this in the Tenants, gutters are an external thing and if your tenancy demands are too onerous they are likely to be deemed unfair as they go against consumer legislation in common law .

First of all an inventory from years before the last tenancy is virtually useless, you could create an Inventory and tell the Agent that you want them to be liable for anything missing but good luck with finding an Agent who would accept such terms. What they might have is an optional property maintenance contract where scheduled preventative works are carried out at your cost.

I advise Landlords to provide nothing in the property, no cooker, no fridge, no curtains and no carpets and CERTAINLY NO LADDERS! Anything that is not nailed down can be stolen, not just by your Tenant but by any passing thief. I had a case where a Landlord tried to hold a Tenant liable for a Piano and a Sofa left in the garage. The sofa rotted and the Piano was stolen because the Garage lock wire was rubbish. In any event there was no written liability accepted by the Tenant.

If you have goods hire storage yourself or better still Freecycle or GumTree it. Stuff in storage inevitably gets ruined by rats or insects and the terms of storage places always given them a way out, even if you pay insurance. Best case scenario is a loss adjuster marking down your perceived value of that sofa from Heals etc.

Renting a property is not a hobby, it is a business, this site is your operations manual of being a professional. That is why sometimes it is best to only let BTL, it stops the emotional loss when your property encounters wear and damage.

As for fire hydrants, that a new one, but I imagine the Local Authority bears responsibility.

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 6th October, 2022 @ 20:24


You know what, I think you're the only person that still calls me Flossy. It's really sad, to be honest, because I think I make a cute Flossy.

I knew this post would pique your interest and I also knew you'd have a field day. Boy did you! And I thank you for it, a lot of useful information.

Few a things I do want to mention:

1) A lot of your feedback was about validating the actual claim and encouraging sensible inventory procedures, so it's worth reminding folk that this post/guidance isn't intended to cover those aspects, but rather highlight how to effectively submit evidence in order to increase your chances of winning.

A lot of what you said is more relevant for my primary inventory blog post, so I'm going to swipe some of your tips and add them there. So spank you very much!

2) On the issue of mould: I think mould is hard to deal with because it's often the result of poor ventilation by the occupant, and that's very hard to prove. From my experience, tenants will swear blind that they ventilate properly, when it's obvious they don't (even after providing guidance e.g. open windows, turn on the extractor, don't leave wet cloths lying around etc).

In any case, I've successfully treated mould and I'm no professional. But I do agree that many landlords think treating it with a bleach bath and a lick of paint will do the trick. Maybe that will work at the very early stages, but not once it gets past a certain level of maturity.


Guest Avatar
GriffMG 22nd October, 2022 @ 11:39

I think the DPS are offering free online seminars for landlords and tenants - we got an email because we're signed up with them.

Guest Avatar
GriffMG 9th January, 2023 @ 13:39

Has anyone else seen the article on the Mial-Online today - the DPS has given the HMRC access to
their list of deposits and this allows them to identify potential incomes that are not being declared by landlords... GDPR doesn't apply?

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 10th January, 2023 @ 13:18

Hey GriffMG,

I had a look but I couldn't find the article, but my initial thought is, when do laws apply to Governments? :)

According to this article on

Who is Exempt from GDPR?

GDPR does not apply to government bodies and law enforcement when data are gathered and processed for the prevention, investigation, detection, or prosecution of criminal offenses or the execution of criminal penalties or for preventing threats to public safety.

In any case, not surprising, to be honest. The UK Gov need to do everything they can to get their finances back in order (after they got us into this mess, of course), and this seems like an easy win. Sigh.

Guest Avatar
GriffMG 10th January, 2023 @ 13:41

This is a link to the article: (from Google)

I have no problem with them trying to gather what is owed, but I don't remember anyone asking if I would be happy sharing my data - that said everyone does, regardless of your preferences it seems.

Guest Avatar
Jane 27th May, 2023 @ 16:08

I got round having to make a claim by suggesting the outgoing tenants pay for the replacement plants that they had chainsawed down and once I'd received that, they would get their full deposit back.
I double-checked the legality of this by asking a lawyer from Farillio (from Open Rent), who didn't see a problem.

Guest Avatar
David 27th May, 2023 @ 17:26


I am sure they were just complying with the "garden maintenance" clause you stuck in your Tenancy Agreement.

Hopefully you protected their deposit properly because it is entitled behaviour like this that makes Tenants seek revenge.

I am not saying you did not have cause, just that you would be wise to think carefully.

If the deposit was protected you and the Tenant would have had free access to the ADR provided by the scheme.

















Your personal information will *never* be sold or shared to a 3rd party. By submitting your details, you agree to our Privacy Policy.

I want more info on...