Bristol, Wednesday 23 September 2015: The Deposit Protection Service (The DPS) has warned students renting accommodation that they must act now to ensure that their deposits will be returned at the end of their tenancies after figures revealed they are almost twice as likely as other tenants to face deductions.
As part of tenancy agreements landlords and letting agents take a deposit from tenants to guard against loss and damage, and by law they must protect the money through an authorised tenancy deposit protection scheme such as The DPS, the UK’s largest.
The DPS’s records show that fewer 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%).
Julian Foster, Managing Director at The DPS, said: “Students must be aware of their responsibilities as tenants and act accordingly throughout their tenancy – or risk losing money when they move out.
“As well as asking their landlord to confirm where their deposit is protected, taking simple steps such as checking household inventories and communicating regularly with landlords can help ensure that deposits are returned in full.
“Deposit protection means both landlords and tenants can have peace of mind that the money is safe – and that there is a free, impartial adjudication service if the tenancy ends in a dispute.”
To coincide with the beginning of term time, The DPS has created a video aimed at students, highlighting the risks if they do not take steps to reduce the risk of losing their deposits, which is available for free distribution and reproduction at http://cpu.vg/studentvideo.
The need to clean the property after it has been vacated is the most common cause of deductions to tenancy deposits among students (32%), followed by repairs (27%), redecoration (20%) and the replacement of lost or damaged items (19%).
The DPS runs the UK’s only custodial scheme: a free service where landlords submit the money for protection during the course of tenancies.
If a tenant does not agree with the landlord’s deductions, The DPS offers an independent, free Alternative Dispute Resolution service, which aims to resolve any disputes quickly and without the need for court action.
The DPS also runs an insured scheme, where landlords retain deposits and pay a fee to insure them.
The DPS aims to repay all deposits within two business days, on receipt of a jointly authenticated repayment instruction.
The DPS is part of the Computershare group, a global financial services company with over 30 years’ financial administration experience.
The DPS has also issued 12 ‘top tips’ that students may like to take into consideration covering how they can increase their chances of retaining their deposits.
1. First and foremost, make sure your landlord protects your deposit with an authorised deposit protection scheme.
2. When you move in, agree an inventory with other tenants and return it to your landlord.
3. If the landlord is unknown to you, make sure you check their name against your university or student union’s list of approved landlords.
4. Remember every tenancy agreement can be different: make sure you read yours and understand your rights and obligations.
5. Record all communication with your landlord in writing, particularly any agreements you make, follow up phone calls with what was agreed by email.
6. Keep copies of any documents, receipts and email correspondence relating to your tenancy.
7. Report any defects with the property promptly and in writing, including the cause of the problem when you can.
8. If you ever take photos of problems in the property, make sure they are date stamped.
9. Remember your obligations as tenants are likely to be what are 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.
10. Remember most tenancy agreements stipulate that tenants are liable for damage to communal areas as well as within your own room.
11. Remember 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.
12. Attend the checkout inspection at the end of your tenancy and take your own photographs if necessary.