Students who are renting accommodation are being warned to act now to protect their deposits by the Deposit Protection Service (DPS).
Research by the organisation has revealed that students are almost twice as likely as other tenants to lose part of their deposits.
Less than one in three students (27.54%) receive 90% or more of their deposit at the end of tenancies compared to around almost six in ten tenants nationally (57.06%).
Landlords and letting agents take a deposit from tenants to guard against loss and damage as part of tenancy agreements. They are required by law to protect the money through an authorised tenancy deposit protection scheme.
The most common cause of deductions to tenancy deposits among students is the need to clean the property after it has been vacated.
This is followed by repairs, redecoration and the replacement of lost or damaged items.
However, if the tenant does not agree with the deductions made, the DPS offers an independent and free Alternative Dispute Resolution service which aims to resolve any disputes quickly and without the need for court action.
The DPS has issued 12 top tips for how students can increase their chances of keeping their deposits:
- Make sure your landlord protects your deposit with an authorised deposit protection scheme.
- Agree an inventory with the other tenants when you move in and return it to your landlord.
- If you don’t know the landlord, be sure to check their name against your university or student union’s list of approved landlords.
- Every tenancy agreement can be different so make sure to read yours and understand your rights and obligations.
- Record all communication with your landlord in writing, particularly any agreements you make and try to follow up phone calls with what was agreed by email.
- Keep copies of all documents, receipts and email correspondence relating to your tenancy.
- Report any defects with the property promptly and in writing or via email, including the cause of the problem when possible.
- If you take photos of problems in the property, make sure to mark down the date on them.
- Understand that your obligations as a tenant might be joint with the other tenants meaning that 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.
- Most tenancy agreements instruct that tenants are liable for damage to communal areas as well as within your own room.
- Remember that 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.
- Make sure to attend the checkout inspection at the end of your tenancy and take our own photographs if necessary.
Follow the DPS tips and protect your deposit right from the start of your tenancy!
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