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Monday, June 28, 2010

Tips on Tenancy Deposit Disputes 3: Recorded Delivery

Tip 3: Use recorded delivery or email
Whether submitting evidence to your deposit protection scheme ADR department or communicating an everyday agreement with your tenant, you should always ensure that you can prove not only that the message was sent, but also the its contents.
I advise my clients to use an email system that is set to record both incoming and outgoing mail to communicate with their tenants. This doesn’t mean that can’t make agreements with your tenants over a cup of tea, but once you get back to your computer, send the tenant an email saying “further to our conversation today, this is to confirm” etc. That way, everyone has a permanent record of any agreement relating to the tenancy. The existence of clear, unequivocal evidence is the best way to avoid disputes occurring in the first place.
Many deposit disputes fail for a basic lack of evidence and landlords often complain that evidence sent in was not taken into account. The schemes are pretty good at devising systems to prevent evidence being lost but, occasionally, mistakes may be made. Equally, the post office has been known to lose mail. If you have a record of delivery backed up by signatures, tracking codes or, best of all, a digital record of the contents of your mail, you are much more likely to be able to recover your loss, either against the scheme or the delivery company. If there is no proof of sending, or of what was sent, your pleas are likely to fall on deaf ears. After all, even landlords make mistakes sometimes.

Tom Derrett is the Principal of Deposit Claim
 and an expert on the Deposit Protection Schemes.

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