#AskTDS: How does TDS deal with rent arrears disputes?

#AskTDS: How does TDS deal with rent arrears disputes?

| 16 May 2022

In this week’s ASK TDSNINI, a tenant asks how TDSNI deals with rent arrears?

Rent arrears are one of the most common areas of dispute that are dealt with at TDSNINI. Arrears are a difficult subject matter and can be incredibly worrying for all involved. Here, we answer how rent arrears are dealt with when a dispute is raised at the end of tenancy, and offer guidance for tenants.

What does TDSNI do in the event of a rent arrears claim?

Rental payments are a contractual obligation and will be detailed within your tenancy agreement. Unless you, as the tenant, can prove that the rent was paid on time and in line with the tenancy agreement, we will award the claim in the landlord’s favour.

What help does TDSNI offer tenants in a deposit dispute for rent arrears?

In these instances, we can only offer to help resolve the case early. If you agree for the rent arrears to be deducted from the deposit, the agent or landlord may then agree not to pursue a tenant via courts, which usually results in the full amount - plus court costs - being awarded to the other party.

Although dealing with rent arrears can be tough, TDSNI advises taking action as quickly as possible; ignoring arrears will only worsen the problem. Communicate openly with your landlord or agent to determine whether there is an option to defer or reduce payments on a temporary basis.

Why can’t TDSNI consider counterclaims for rent arrears?

The deposit is taken as security against potential breaches by the tenant, and the deposit is then used to compensate the landlord for said breaches. We can’t consider counterclaims as we cannot compensate the tenant for the landlord’s potential breaches using their own funds.

Guidance for tenants

If the rent arrears occurred because you believe there was an agreement for a rent reduction or deferral, it’s imperative you get this in writing from the agent or landlord. As TDSNI are evidence-based, the tenant’s word for this alone will not suffice, and it’s likely we will award in the agents or landlords favour. 

If you would like to learn more about how TDSNI deals with specific disputes at the end of tenancy, read more case studies here 

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