Tip 33: The Standard Of Proof
We’ve looked before at the burden of proof, which is a way of describing whose problem it is to prove their claim is true. It should come as no surprise to you to learn that the burden is on the landlord to prove that they are in the right.
What we haven’t discussed yet is the standard of proof, which means how far you have to go to convince the adjudicator that you are right. Thankfully, deposit disputes do not employ the criminal standard, which is beyond reasonable doubt. Deposit protection disputes use the civil standard of proof, which is described as the Balance Of Probabilities.
In law, we talk about evidence having weight, which is essentially how convincing it is. As an example, more weight would be given to an independent, professionally produced inventory which describes the front garden as neat on a specific date, than to a letter from a neighbour confirming that the front garden was always well kept. The inventory is detailed, specific and objective, whereas the letter is vague and the motives of the neighbour cannot be ascertained. In this instance, the inventory carries more weight.
The adjudicator’s role is to read the evidence, consider how much evidential weight it carries, then to determine, on balance, which party has the stronger (more weighty) case. If your evidence carries more weight, it appears more probable that you are in the right and the balance falls in your favour. You have won.
The is a short video on the interaction between burden and standard of proof here, if you would like a little more detail.
Tom Derrett is the Principal of Deposit Claim, an experienced deposit protection adjudicator and an expert on the Deposit Protection Schemes. Tom helps landlords to claim money through the deposit protection schemes.
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