It’s always such an exciting time moving into new flats and houses with your friends. However it can be a bit of a stress trying to figure out your rights and responsibilities as a tenant to help you make sure at the end of the year that you will get the full amount back of your deposit.
Unless you have completely trashed your place, you will get your deposit back. You just need to make sure you do everything above board, and that your landlord isn’t trying to pull a fast one, so he can take the mick and hold onto your deposit for a long period of time, or give back less than you were expecting.
Tenancy rights as a student
, and especially deposits can be pretty complicated. We compiled a list of things you should do to make sure you get your deposit back safely.
For most people, you’ll probably have to pay a deposit to your landlord or letting agent before you’re able to rent a place. It’s taken as a precautionary measure providing security for landlords, against damages or unpaid rent. All being well, you will get this back at the end of your tenancy, so it’s nothing to worry about. It is also just to make sure that you secure your property.
Your deposit will usually be the same amount as 4 or 5 weeks rent. It’s worth noting where you stand here though; it’s actually illegal for your landlord to force you to pay a deposit of more than 5 weeks rent.
Every tenant in the country is entitled to the full return of their deposit at the end of their tenancy, as long as when you sign on to a new place, everything is done correctly, and there is nothing your landlord needs to deduct for damages. For all assured shorthold tenancies, your deposit has to be 'protected' in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDP) until you move out of the property.
To get an idea of what you need to do to make sure your deposit is kept safe, and you get every penny back, find out more below. If you’re hoping to learn all the ins and outs of Student Renting, click here to read through our guide.
A TDS or Tenancy Deposit Scheme is a Government Approved scheme to help protect your deposit during the time of your tenancy. The TDS ensures that you are treated fairly at the end of your tenancy, and that your landlord or letting agent meets their legal obligations. For those of you who are lodging, or staying in student halls, your deposit does not have to be protected within a DPS or TDS scheme.
A Tenancy Deposit Scheme makes sure you get your deposit back if you
meet the terms of your tenancy agreement
don’t damage the property
pay your rent and bills
Your deposit will be placed in on of the
3 Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme Providers
When you sign up for a new place, your landlord or letting agent will have the responsibility of placing your deposit into a protected Deposit Protection Scheme with the DPS, who will look after the money during your tenancy. So you don’t have to do much at all to keep your money safe.
Once your tenancy comes to an end, the deposit is released and you simply request it back directly from the elected TDS. Bear in mind an assessment needs to be made as to whether any deductions are made due to covering property damages or repairs, which are outside the usual wear and tear expected.
According to the Deposit Protection Scheme, your landlord must protect your tenancy deposit within 30 days of you paying the deposit over to them. You’ll be notified of when this has been done, with email notifications which include all the details of your deposit and the details on how it is protected. If you don’t receive this information, drop your landlord a message for some info. You can also check directly with the TDS if your deposit has been protected with them by using their deposit check up tools.
Your landlord has the right to deduct money from your deposit. Usually, it is for any damage done to the property, so this could be large amounts of damage and marks to walls, damage to any furniture, to the point it can’t be repaired etc…
To avoid any deductions, make sure you
meet the terms of your tenancy agreement
don’t damage the property
pay your rent and bills
The good news is, landlords are not able to take unreasonable amounts of money, so like we have said before, make sure you take pictures of everything at the start and end of your tenancy to give you the best chance of safety, just in the off chance that a dispute is brought up.
If you have flatmates, you absolutely don’t want to be paying for their damage. Your liability will depend on whether you have signed a shorthold tenancy for the whole flat or house, or have signed tenancy on a room-by-room contract.
If the property is on a room-by-room basis, then you are responsible for your room and any communal areas, so it is worth making sure that you make sure your flatmates look after any communal spaces too.
If you’ve signed a joint contract for the whole property, there should be a mutual understanding with your flatmates that any damage in individual rooms will come off the entire property’s deposit.
So what to do if you disagree with your landlord’s deductions from your deposit? You can challenge any unfair deductions from your deposit by following these few steps.
Contact Your Landlord or Agent
Write to your landlord or agent and let them know you don’t agree with the deductions. Show them your evidence and photos, and explain the reasons why you do not agree. Keep copies of everything, all emails, letters, and proof of your arguement.
Use Your Protection Scheme’s Dispute Resolution Service
Each Tenancy Deposit Scheme has a free dispute resolution service. This is why they are so important. They assess evidence provided by both sides, and take matters into their own hands, deciding how much of the deposit you should get back. You can raise a dispute through your scheme’s website:
This is probably the most important thing you want to do. Before you start unpacking, make sure you take pictures of everything. If there are any marks on the wall, scratches on furniture or anything like that, make sure to take a picture. This just keeps your landlord aware of any damages, ensuring they know it wasn’t you that caused them.
If the landlord does not do an inventory for you, consider taking one yourself taking photos of everything. Then at the end of your tenancy, at least you have any evidence if your landlord does try to withhold your deposit from you.
First things first, you won’t get your deposit back if you leave your uni flat or house in an absolute state. If you’ve smashed windows, broken doors, or just left your house in a bad way, chances of you getting your deposit back are pretty low. So whatever you do, try not to have a drunk rager at yours that ends in a costly nightmare.
It’s worth being careful if you consider hanging stuff up on the walls, as you don’t want to make any holes or cracks. There are renter friendly decorating options you can consider, like
3M Command Strips
. If you do damage any walls, or you accidentally take some paint off, you can always try and fill these in yourself. They’re easy fixes and not really something to worry about.
It’s a good idea to do a bit of a deep clean before you move out, just to make sure that everything looks in good condition. We know, this is a bit of a faff. But if your place is filthy, your landlord might charge a cleaning fee to get it back in good order for the next tenant. Just make sure that your kitchen, bedroom and bathroom are all nice and clean when you move out.
Make sure to take all your belongings with you, or bin what you don’t want. Your landlord can charge a removal fee if he has to organise getting rid of a lot of stuff.
If you have things that you do want to get rid of, and you think they might have some value to them, consider selling them on Facebook Marketplace. There are always going to be loads of other students that will be looking for everything you want to get rid of, from kitchen gear to furniture! See our guide on
How to Sell on Facebook Marketplace here
Make sure you’re in the habit of alerting your landlord of any damages as soon as you notice them, or they occur. This way, they can get it fixed straight away, and then you won’t have to live with the damage. I mean, this makes sense, as notifying your landlord and asking them to come out and fix issues is what you want.
If your landlord is a bit reluctant to send someone out, or attend to your queries, make sure to keep a log of anything that you’ve reported, as well as taking pictures. Don’t get complacent on keeping your landlord up to date, as if you live with any problems, it might come back to bite you when you move out.
Equally, if you have maybe taken some paint off the wall, or damaged a bit of furniture, you could always repair or replace this yourself. You can often do things pretty cheap, and if you don't quite know how, just give it a Google. There's always a tutorial or YouTube vid out there to help you out.
Your Landlord has to give reasons as to why they are not giving you your deposit back, or as to why they are taking some of it to cover any damages. You can always dispute this if there hasn’t been a good enough reason given or if you think that you have been unfairly charged. Just make sure that there have been reasons given for why you haven’t had your deposit back.
It’s always a stress when you’re waiting to get your deposit back, and we could all do with every last penny, especially if you’re moving out in the Summer time! With that being said, there is nothing to worry about, and there’s loads of things you can do to make sure that you will definitely get all of your deposit back. We hope this helped and you learned a bit more about how to get your deposit back.
We hope you feel more confident in making the right decisions on your housing at uni. Check out our
Student Guide To Renting
to learn the ins and outs of renting as a student, what to prepare for, and what to think about. For more advice on life at Uni visit our
Student Advice Hub