The Tenancy Deposit Scheme says the end of May usually triggers the annual movement of students from their rented properties - but warns that 40 per cent of students who rent don’t get their full deposit back, sometimes unnecessarily.
“The number one contributing factor behind disputes over the return of deposits is cleaning, accounting for 57 per cent of all dispute cases” says TDS’s Rebecca Johnston.
“For many people, cleaning is an after-thought with exams and summer excitement often taking precedence, but leaving a property either untidy or dirty can incur heavy deposit deductions.The easiest way to avoid losing out is to maintain your accommodation throughout the year” she says, adding that if you do leave it to the last minute, you should do a full, deep clean before you leave.
Johnston, managing director of TDS Custodial, says 51 per cent of all disputes also cite damage caused to the property. “If the property has become damaged during your lease, you should report it in writing to your landlord. If you haven’t kept on top of it throughout your tenancy, consider gathering quotes from reputable tradespeople to repair any damage. It may be cheaper to organise this yourself than the deposit deduction at the end of your lease” she says.
Despite landlords’ expectations of the property being returned in a similar condition to when it was leased, 32 per cent of all disputes include claims for redecoration.
“If you want to redecorate the house or flat you’re renting, you should always get the landlord’s permission first. However, if you have already made changes, you can either return the property to its previous state, or ask the owner’s permission retrospectively” she suggests.
Almost a fifth of disputes (19 per cent) include rent arrears issues. “If you think your landlord/letting agent has made unfair or unjustified deductions from your deposit, you can raise it with TDS, who will act as independent adjudicators to try find an amicable resolution” she says.