PDA

View Full Version : Alternative Dispute Resolution Service - anyone tried it???



LizH
27-07-2011, 18:43 PM
Hi,
Anyone tried using the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Service when in dispute over the deposit?
They claim to be cheaper than going to court.
The tenent want's to take us to small claims court, but if possible I would rather try this first.
Thanks in advance

mariner
27-07-2011, 21:22 PM
ADR can be used if both sides agree. It is free but both sides agree to be bound by their decision
Not used it, some feel it favours the T, mainly due to LL not having comprehensive move-in inspection report & inventory.
What is the deposit dispute?

Snorkerz
27-07-2011, 21:24 PM
ADR can only be used if BOTH parties agree - at least that is the case with DPS and I assume the other 2 will be similar.

ADR is free - court's aren't.

ADR is anecdotally biased towards the tenant as the onus of proof is on the landlord (for both ADR & court) but with the courts the judge has to make a decision based on the balance of probabilities - who does he believe? The landlord as a chance to state his case and maybe persuade the judge that his testimony is more believable than the tenant.

What level of proof do you have over damages?
If the deposit is with the DPS and you win, you will have to ask that the judge orders the DPS to return the depost to you.

westminster
27-07-2011, 23:40 PM
ADR can be used if both sides agree. It is free but both sides agree to be bound by their decision
But this only means that the deposit scheme will then distribute the deposit according to their decision. It doesn't mean that the losing party cannot subsequently bring a claim in the county court.

westminster
27-07-2011, 23:47 PM
Hi,
Anyone tried using the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Service when in dispute over the deposit?
They claim to be cheaper than going to court.
The tenent want's to take us to small claims court, but if possible I would rather try this first.
Thanks in advance
ADR is free. The county court charges fees; these are generally paid by the losing party, but aren't that much in the small claims track.

Personally, I wouldn't (as a LL) agree to ADR, because their guidance on disputes indicates that they tend to favour the tenant. The guidance can be downloaded - it's the last on the list on this link:
http://www.depositprotection.com/document-library/processes.aspx

But the bottom line is that it's not your decision if the tenant doesn't want to use ADR; the tenant is entitled to opt out and settle the dispute in the county court instead, if he so wishes.

LizH
28-07-2011, 00:32 AM
Thanks for the replies and the link is really helpful.
The problem is that we had to replace the carpet because of the smell from their pet cat so there is no evidence we could capture with photos etc.
They did try to clean the carpet initially and after the damp smell wore off it seemed ok but after a few more days the smell was back so rather than ask them to clean it again, because there was alot of bad feeling and we just didn't want them in the flat we just replaced the carpet.
Unfortunatly I sent a text saying the flat was fine and they can have the deposit back, before we realised the carpet was going to need replacing and they still have it, so I realse that is strong evidence against us - is it worth persuing this do you think?

westminster
28-07-2011, 01:16 AM
Don't worry about the text message.

Did you have an inventory/condition report conducted at the start of the tenancy? (If not, do you have any evidence of condition of the carpets when the T moved in?)

How old were the carpets at the time the tenancy ended, and how long would they have been expected to last before requiring replacement due to normal wear and tear?

LizH
28-07-2011, 11:28 AM
Westminster - is the text not evidence against us?
We have an inventory which says 'carpets worn' as in not new - we never replaced them, they were good quality carpets and came up well with cleaning each time, we would not have felt the need to replace them except for the smell, they would have lasted another couple of years. The inventory wasn't signed by them, so maybe it is not much use after all!
I realise they may not agree to ADR but if it goes straight to court atleast we tried - will that help our case?
Also in a letter written by one of the tennents parents they are asking if we received planning permission for some work we had carried out in our flat below - this sounds a bit like a threat to us, they have already tried to get environmental health involved saving there were safety issues, there are no problems with the building work, or safety but how would you handle that sort of situation - maybe I should make this question a separate thread?

westminster
28-07-2011, 12:38 PM
A court will consider all the evidence, not just the text message.

From the sound of it, even if you won a counterclaim for damage, you're unlikely to be awarded very much for damage to a worn carpet. You would certainly not be entitled to the full replacement cost, only a portion, as you are not entitled to betterment.

For example if the carpet was of a quality expect to last 12 years before needing to be replaced due to everyday wear and tear, and it was 10 years old at the time the tenancy ended, then LL's 'loss' is 2 years' worth of use, i.e. around 17% of the anticipated lifespan. So LL would be entitled to claim 17% of the cost of replacement.

I would ignore the question about planning permission; responding will achieve nothing. In addition, unless the parent is a guarantor to the contract, you should communicate only with the tenant regarding the dispute.

LizH
28-07-2011, 18:46 PM
Thanks for clarifying that.
He is guarantor.