With students up and down the country about to set off for University, interesting research has revealed that four in ten can forget about receiving their full tenancy deposit back.
An investigation conducted by money.co.uk reveals that this could amount to a loss of £32m for roughly 196,766 students affected.
In all, there are over half a million students in private rental accommodation. The average rental deposit paid by students is currently £572 per year. This means that in total, there is nearly £300 million worth of student deposits taken on an annual basis.
What’s more, the number of students looking to enter further education is growing, as are the number of investors taking out landlord insurance for student properties.
Shockingly, the report reveals that four out of five students do not sign a photo inventory before they move in. This means that they have very little evidence on the condition of the property at the beginning of the agreement in comparison to the end. More than half of students polled said that they felt getting their entire deposit back would have been easier with a full photographic inventory.
Further data from the research indicates that the most common reason for landlords keeping some or all of a deposit was the cleanliness of a property. 52% of landlords questioned said they kept some money as they felt their student investment was not returned in a sufficiently clean state.
24% cited damage to fixtures and fittings as a reason, while 22% said that excessive wear and tear was a major issue. Only 5% of student property investors said that unpaid bills was the reason that they didn’t return a full tenancy deposit.
Somewhat worryingly, one in four students said that they did not receive details of the protection scheme in which their deposit was being held. One in ten claimed that their landlord did not even protect their cash! Landlords are reminded that it is a legal responsibility to deposit cash received on an assured shorthold tenancy agreement in a Government approved scheme within 30 days of receipt.
This prescribed information must be passed onto students within the same timeframe.
Hannah Maundrell, Editor in Chief money.co.uk, notes, ‘this will be the first time many students have rented their own place. There are so many things to think about but making sure your deposit is protected is key so you’re not left out of pocket when you move out. Landlords are not the enemy-students must make sure they keep the property in a decent state so there’s no reason for their landlord to keep their cash-this is money they’ll be relying on getting back.’
‘With over half a million students in private rented accommodation the scope for problems is huge. Without signing a photo inventory you run the risk of losing money every time you move out as it’s your word against your landlord’s if things go wrong. Student debt is already colossal and forfeiting your deposit is an unnecessary loss at the end of the year,’ she added.