Just under 10 per cent of landlords experienced a tenant dispute in 2014 with two thirds opting to settle them in court according to a study of 500 investment property owners.
In 58 per cent of the disputes the main cause was damage to property, followed by disagreements over decoration (51 per cent) and cleaning and rent arrears (each on 42 per cent).
My Property Inventories, the firm that commissioned the survey, claims that some landlords are losing disputes because they cannot provide appropriate evidence to show that a tenant has, for example, damaged a property.
For example, some landlords are failing to put a letting contract in place, or they have very unfair clauses in the contact. Other landlords don't conduct an adequate check-in and check-out, or don't keep copies of correspondence with the tenant which could be evidence in a dispute says the firm's director, Danny Zane.
He claims that tenants in such disputes are usually aware that they have caused actual damage and will try to hide it.
If landlords have a thorough and detailed inventory, it will enable both parties to be treated fairly and reasonably. By opening a dialogue with tenants and using an independent inventory clerk, disputes can be resolved quicker and without the hassle that is often experienced at the end of a tenancy period he says.
He says professionals compiling an inventory would, for example, take dated' photographs of the garden, of the interior of the shed or garage, of the inside of the oven and of keys handed over to tenants - these are the main areas of problems that occur and are often down to misinterpretation at the end of a tenancy.
He also urges letting agents or landlords to carry out a full check-in where an inventory clerk checks through every line of the inventory, ensuring any amendments are agreed by and signed for, by the tenant at the end.