In this edition of our 'Five Common… Mistakes' blog series, we're talking about common mistakes when submitting an invoice or quote as evidence:

1. Essential details missing

An invoice or quote is necessary to substantiate the amount claimed for, but it's important that essential details, including the date and address of the property, are included. If an invoice or quote is missing this information, it could be argued that it may be for another property or tenancy.

2. No breakdown of the work

The invoice or quote should be as detailed as possible, giving a breakdown of the work carried out and the costs incurred. For example, a £200 invoice detailing that 'all lawns were mowed, hedges trimmed and beds weeded' provides a better description of the work needed than a £200 invoice 'for gardening'. Where an invoice is not detailed (including minimal call out or parking charges if applicable) and appears too high for the work required, the adjudicator is likely to reduce the award.

3. Not providing a quote

If a landlord hasn't had work completed yet, they can submit an estimate or quote instead. While an estimate or quotation doesn't carry the same weight as an invoice or receipt, as they don't show a charge actually paid for, they're useful in providing an indication of the extent of charges necessary to fix any damage or deterioration.

4. Not providing a comparison quote

A landlord doesn't have to hire a professional contractor at the end of the tenancy and can complete any work required themselves. However, the amount a landlord will be able to claim to complete the work will depend primarily on the evidence provided to show their loss. For example, in a dispute over cleaning, the adjudicator would consider how much cleaning was needed to return the property to the same condition as at the start of the tenancy and what a reasonable rate for that might be. It can be helpful if a landlord provides a comparison quote from a local contractor to show the amount they've claimed for is fair and reasonable.

5. Providing an invoice or quote dated considerably before or after the tenancy

If work is required at the end of the tenancy, the invoice or quote should be dated as close to the check-out as possible – if it isn't, it could be argued that the work required isn't the responsibility of the tenant. For example, if an invoice for cleaning is dated a month after the check-out, it's reasonable to assume the property would have become dustier in the vacant period, or that other people (either the letting agent or landlord or new tenants) may have visited or moved into the property and changed the cleanliness since the check-out was completed.

We've also published posts on Five Common Tenancy Agreement Mistakes, Five Common Inventory Mistakes, Five Common Photo Evidence Mistakes and Five Common Communication Mistakes.