With your tenancy ending, you are probably looking forward to getting your deposit back.
Before you go making plans for that deposit though, we want to highlight that some students lose hundreds of pounds to unfair deposit deductions.
These deductions usually come in the form of over-inflated cleaning/repair costs, or other costs the landlord/letting agent should be covering. Agents/landlords then refuse to return the deposit until students agree to these unfair charges.
Things to note:
Make sure you've checked your tenancy for any special conditions on how you must leave your student accommodation, you could be asked to have your oven professionally cleaned with a receipt to prove it has been paid for (you are likely to find much cheaper services than your landlord/letting agent and they will take this cost out of your deposit)
Clean your old flat and room to avoid any cleaning fees being taken out of your deposit. Also, check your tenancy or contact your landlord about the state you should leave the property in, to avoid further charges.
When all your boxes and bags are moved out, that is your chance to do your last checks of the property. Not only to cover your own back but to make sure you get your deposit back at the end of the contract.
Always take photos of how you left the property so that if damage to the property does occur, you’ll at least have proof that the damage wasn’t caused while you were renting.
Legally, landlords are allowed to make deductions from your deposit to cover reasonable expenses, including:
- Any unpaid rent
- Cleaning or gardening costs, if the condition isn't similar to what it was when you moved in
- Repairing any damage beyond normal wear and tear*
- Replacing items from the inventory that are now missing*
- Reverting any changes made to the property without the landlord's permission (e.g. redecorating).
* In both cases, the landlord cannot charge you for replacing/repairing an item to a higher specification than before (e.g. replacing a £10 kettle with a £200 one).
Crucially, landlords must discuss an issue with you first before making a deduction. In these cases, whichever organisation is holding your deposit will keep your money until all disputes are settled.
A decision will be made based on the information and evidence submitted by both the tenant and the landlord. The decision of the tenancy deposit company is final, and they'll also be responsible for deciding how much money will be deducted from the deposit.
Remember that in a typical student house (Assured Shorthold Tenancy), your deposit should be protected by law, meaning that no money can be deducted from it without your written consent.
Landlords are legally required to safeguard their tenants' deposits with one of three government-backed deposit protection schemes: Deposit Protection Service, MyDeposits, or the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. You should have been given this information by the landlord/agent within 30 days of paying your deposit.
The other issue we see is that agents/landlords ignore students’ communications and make the process of getting your deposit back so hard, that many students give up - international students are particularly affected by this.
You should ask for your deposit back in writing (email ) the day you move out of your property.
If you experience any issues with this, please contact your Students' Union Advice Team for free, either through the SU website or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org