One in five (22%) students lost part of their tenancy deposits when they left their accommodation at the end of the last academic year, according to new research from The Deposit Protection Service (The DPS).
UK landlords are legally obliged to protect any deposit that they take from their tenants in case of loss or damage caused during the course of a tenancy agreement with one of three Government-approved protection schemes.
The DPS explains that students arriving at university can drastically improve their chances of receiving their deposit back when they leave by acting now.
The Managing Director of the protection scheme, Julian Foster, says: “Like anyone renting accommodation, students must act responsibly during their tenancies and be aware of both their rights and responsibilities.
“If their deposit is protected, our free dispute resolution service can ensure that they can challenge any deduction they consider unreasonable, and that an independent adjudicator will consider their evidence before making a decision.”
One in Five Students Lost Part of their Tenancy Deposits
He continues: “The system also gives landlords a chance to reclaim any costs created by the behaviour of their tenants, so student renters should think and act in a way that prevents damage or other losses from the very first day of their tenancy – not just towards the end of the academic year.”
The research found that cleaning (63%) is the most common reason cited by landlords for claiming part or all of their tenants’ deposits, followed by damage to the property (54%), redecoration (37%), rent arrears (23%), gardening (16%), replacing missing items (16%), and paying outstanding bills (4%).
Top tips for student tenants
The DPS has offered its 12 top tips on how students can increase their chances of retaining their tenancy deposits:
- Firstly, make sure that your landlord protects your deposit with a Government-authorised deposit protection scheme.
- When you move in, approve the inventory with any other tenants and return it to the landlord.
- If you have not met the landlord of your property, make sure to check their name against your university or student union’s list of approved landlords.
- Remember that every tenancy agreement can be different; make sure to read yours carefully to understand your rights and responsibilities.
- Record all communications with your landlord in writing, particularly any agreements that you make. Also, follow up any phone calls or face-to-face conversations with what was agreed in an email.
- Keep copies of any documents, receipts and email correspondence relating to your tenancy.
- Report any issues with the property promptly and in writing, including the cause of the problem.
- If you ever take photographs of issues with the property, ensure that they are date stamped.
- Remember that your obligations as tenants are likely to be what is known legally as “joint and several”; if one individual tenant does not accept personal responsibility when something goes wrong, such as a breakage, then it becomes the joint responsibility of all the tenants.
- Remember that most tenancy agreements stipulate that tenants are liable for damage to communal areas, as well as within your own room.
- Also, liability generally extends right until the end of the tenancy; if you move out before other tenants, you could remain jointly responsible for the property.
- Attend the check-out inspection at the end of your tenancy and take your own photos if necessary.