The Deposit Protection Service says almost a quarter of students lost part of their tenancy deposit when they left their accommodation at the end of the last academic year.
The service says that cleaning (63 per cent) is the common reason cited by agents and landlords claiming part of their tenants’ deposits, followed by damage to property (54 per cent), redecoration (37 per cent), rent arrears (23 per cent), gardening (16 per cent), replacing missing items (16 per cent) and paying outstanding bills (four per cent).
However, the DPS says students arriving at university can drastically improve their chances of receiving their deposit when they leave by acting now.
“Like anyone renting accommodation, students must act responsibly during their tenancies and be aware of both their rights and responsibilities” says managing director Julian Foster.
He gives 12 tips on how students can increase their chances of retaining their deposits:
- Ensure the landlord or agent uses an authorised deposit protection scheme;
- At move in, agree an inventory with other tenants and return it to the agent or landlord;
- Check the agency or landlord names against the university or student union’s approved list;
- Read and understand rights and obligations set out on the tenancy agreement;
- Record all communication with the agent or landlord in writing;
- Keep copies of any documents, receipts and email correspondence relating to the tenancy;
- Report defects with the property promptly and in writing, including the cause of the problem if known;
- Make sure photos of problems in the property are date-stamped;
- Remember tenants’ obligations, especially those 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 most tenancy agreements stipulate that tenants are liable for damage to communal areas as well as within your their own rooms;
- Remember liability generally extends right until the end of the tenancy: if one moves out before other tenants, they could remain jointly responsible for the property;
- Attend the checkout inspection at the end of tenancy.