An online lettings firm claims that last year four out of 10 students had some or all of their deposits kept by landlords, costing the students a total of £32m.
The main reasons for retaining some or all of the deposit were professional cleaning (52 per cent), damage to fixtures and fittings (24 per cent), excessive wear and tear (22 per cent) and just five per cent for unpaid bills as the reasons for holding back deposits.
On average, a third of the deposit - equivalent to a typical £164 - is kept by landlords or their agents.
The research, by the online agency StudentTenant, found that a small proportion of landlords did not put student deposits into government protected schemes. It says many students are unaware that it is mandatory for all private landlords to protect deposits through a government backed tenancy deposit scheme.
“Students must be made aware that they have a right to see paperwork to prove their deposits are protected by one of the schemes. Landlords are legally obliged to put deposits into these to protect themselves and their tenants within 30 days, but it’s just not made clear enough for students” says a website spokesman.