The right paperwork and inventory could save landlords £4.5bn a year

New figures have revealed that landlords are forking out a massive £4.5bn every year for property damage caused by tenants.

Broken appliances, cigarette burns and damages to decorations are just a number of the repairs landlords are spending that money on every year, new figures from The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) show.

Further statistics from TDS shows that damage to property accounts for 56 per cent of deposit disputes, a 17 per cent rise in comparison to five years ago.

The TDS figures also show that 19.2 per cent of all disputes raised resulted in 100 per cent pay-outs to tenants; 19.8 per cent of all disputes raised by landlords or agents resulted in 100 per cent pay-outs to them; while in the remaining 61 per cent of cases, the disputed money was split between the parties.

Research published in October 2015 found that 80 per cent of tenants in the UK believe that it is the responsibility of landlords to repair damages at the end of tenancies, highlighting clear differences in perceptions.

“Many landlords feel tenants are not held to account when damage is caused and that there is little they can do to protect their property”, says Jax Kneppers, Founder and CEO of Imfuna Let.

With the cost of buying property to rent expected to increase in 2016, as a result of stamp duty reforms and interest changes to the mortgage tax relief, landlords cannot afford to lose more money.

By ensuring there is a fair contract in place for a new tenant along with a thorough and detailed inventory, landlords could protect their assets.

There is also concern that rogue tenants could be attempting to avoid eviction by damaging their rental properties in order to abuse new legislation designed to ban revenge evictions.

The new laws, which came into force on the 1 October 2015, ban landlords who have failed to act upon a legitimate repairs request from using the Section 21 procedure to regain possession of their property.

Recent research conducted by Property Let By Us found that one in ten tenants admitted to damage worth over £500 to their rental property. It is thus a concern that tenants may be causing deliberate harm to their lodgings in order to avoid eviction.