Disputes can often be a stressful, disagreements can arise during a tenancy for a number of reasons. It's best for tenants and landlords alike to be able to look to and resolve issues that may arise during or after the tenancy. SafeDeposits always offers free, impartial adjudication on disputes over tenancy deposits.

Avoiding disputes during a tenancy

1. Communication. If a problem arises during your tenancy it is important to talk about the issue as soon as possible. Keep a record of the communication and any agreements in writing. If a potential dispute arises in the future you can refer back to any agreements.

2. Know your tenancy agreement. Any dispute that SafeDeposits looks at will be based upon what the tenant's responsibilities are in relation to the tenancy agreement and if they have been broken. Read the tenancy agreement thoroughly and stick to the terms.

If a tenant feels the landlord hasn't upheld their responsibilities as agreed in the tenancy agreement, the tenant should approach the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber).

3. Meet face to face. If you have only traded angry words with your tenant or landlord over the phone or by e-mail, a face-to-face meeting may help. Hold the meeting in a neutral place, where both of you will feel safe and comfortable.

4. Create a detailed inventory. The inventory is really important because the tenant and the landlord need to be able to compare the condition and cleanliness of the property when the tenancy started and when it ended. If anything in the property was already broken or dirty when at the start of the tenancy, the inventory can prove who is responsible for the cost of repairing, replacing or cleaning something.

Have a read of our blog on how to check and agree to an inventory.

5. Proposals. Before submitting a formal proposal with SafeDeposits notify your landlord/tenant of your intention to do so and what your proposal is going to be. This could allow for discussion and an amicable agreement rather than your proposal being a surprise and being disputed.

Coming to agreements during the dispute process

1. Communication. If your case has been referred to our adjudication service we start off the process with a five working day period specifically for negotiation. Adjudication is a lengthy process and requires documentary evidence submissions by both parties. We always encourage communication, it's always worth reaching out. Coming to a private agreement could mean you are spared a lengthy process. If there's an agreement at any point SafeDeposits can release the disputed funds in a couple of working days.

2. Keep your cool. While a negotiation on contentious issues can be frustrating, allowing emotions to take control will derail any potential agreement. A quicker agreed settlement between both parties could best outcome rather than your case going through the full adjudication process.

3. Be reasonable. If your case has gone to dispute there's a greater chance of agreements if both parties have calculated the cost of any potential claim accurately. Raising a formal dispute with poorly prepared figures will discourage any private agreement and an adjudicator can only award funds based upon documentary evidence. You can save time and effort by ensuring your figures claimed are accurate and you are always open to negotiation.

4. Continued negotiation. Our disputes process can take up to 12 weeks to come to its conclusion. You may have attempted to negotiate at any earlier stage of the process, if it failed it doesn't necessarily mean that you cannot reach agreement at a later point. Both tenant and landlord share the desire for resolution of the case promptly. A case can be settled at any point during ADR with the consent form both parties.

5. Consideration. Approaching a dispute with an all or nothing attitude will discourage any potential agreements. We understand that disputes can be about the principle of the matter and not necessarily the money disputed. However it is always healthy to weigh up everything, the amount involved in the dispute, the work and the time involved. Consider if it would be easier to draw a line under the matter and move on rather than continue an argument?

Whether it is a withdrawal or an attempt at negotiation you may find that it is better for you in the long run than going through the full dispute process.

We understand that if it is a significant amount involved in a dispute it can be crucially important to you, your business or securing your next property. Our disputes service is free and is open to everyone who wants to use it. However during a dispute if you want to reconsider or attempt a negotiation with our help or even just talk through the issues around your case you can contact us at on 03333 213 136 or info@safedepositsscotland.com