In this week’s #DepositDoctor, TDS address the aftermath of a New Year’s Eve party and answer a landlord’s question: “Can I claim for damage caused at a New Year’s Eve party?”
After Christmas, many tenants will be ringing in the New Year with a celebration at home joined by friends and family. Festive drinks, fireworks and decorations can really bring a celebration or party to life – but with inevitable spillages, the potential for damage and changes to the garden, there can be consequences for tenants and their deposits.
We often read about claims for a deduction from the tenancy deposit for carpet stains and damage to walls, ceilings and furniture caused by blu-tack marks, sticky tape or holes where nails, hooks or drawing pins have been used to secure decorations. So, let’s clear a few things up…
If the damage or stains mean that the property is not being returned to the landlord or letting agent in the same level of condition agreed in the tenancy agreement, then reasonable costs to make good may be part of a claimed amount from the tenancy deposit.
Firstly, you should ensure you have a suitable tenancy agreement in place. This will set out the responsibilities of the tenant and landlord, and should clearly outline the obligations and how the property is expected to be returned in (allowing for fair wear and tear) after the tenancy has ended.
The check-in report and inventory will also help as a record of the condition at the beginning of the tenancy and provide clarity – it should be an accurate record of the condition of the property and ideally include supporting photographic evidence. In the event that you might need to make a deduction from the tenancy deposit, your tenant could dispute the claim and it would be the responsibility of the landlord or letting agent to show where the condition has changed.
There may be disagreements over whether marks from hanging decorations count as damage or fair wear and tear as this can be subjective. So, to make sure that both you and your tenant know where you stand in this respect, we recommend that you include a clause in your tenancy agreement on how decorations can be displayed in the home.
Alternatively, if your tenant has already strung up 2019 banners and streamers, you might be better to advise them to fix, clean or make good the damaged areas before the tenancy ends to avoid a deposit deduction.
When it comes to stains caused by drink spillages and other party residue, you can make the deduction if the tenancy agreement includes a clause that allows you to request deductions for cleaning or damage. It’s worth noting that an award is less likely if the carpet or any decor has reached the end of its usual lifespan anyway.
A new year is the perfect time to make some positive changes – a good start could be checking that your letting agreements have the right clauses to correctly manage your property. You can find out more about check-in/out reports, inventories and schedules of condition in our handy guide, available here.
Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is a Government-approved scheme for the protection of tenancy deposits; TDS offers both Insured and Custodial protection and also provides fair adjudication for disputes that arise over the tenancy deposits that we protect.
We provide invaluable training in tenancy deposit protection and disputes for agents and landlords through the TDS Academy as well as joining with MOL to provide the Technical Award in Residential Tenancy Deposits.
TDS Insured Scheme: where a TDS member can hold the tenancy deposits as stakeholder during the term of the tenancy.
TDS Custodial Scheme: where TDS hold the deposit for the duration of the tenancy.
TDS Academy: TDS provides property professionals with invaluable training in tenancy deposit protection and tenancy deposit disputes.
TDS Northern Ireland: TDS is Northern Ireland’s leading and only not for profit tenancy deposit protection scheme.
TDS can only comment on the process for our scheme, other deposit protection schemes may have a different process/require different steps. Content is correct at the time of writing.
These views are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the view of TDS, its officers and employees.