Tips for Students Becoming Tenants
By |Published On: 30th September 2014|

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Tips for Students Becoming Tenants

By |Published On: 30th September 2014|

This article is an external press release originally published on the Landlord News website, which has now been migrated to the Just Landlords blog.

With the start of a new academic year comes the beginning of many new tenancies.

If you are a student renting for the first time, it can be easy to disregard your tenancy deposit until it comes to moving out. But it is always important to remember that what you have done, or do, during your tenancy could result in you losing money from your deposit when you leave.

Getting the full amount back depends on how you act as a tenant from the day you move in. The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) has compiled some advice to help you keep your money.

Protecting the deposit

Initially, you should ensure that your landlord or letting agent has protected your deposit in a Government-approved scheme. If you think any deductions are unreasonable at the end of your tenancy, you can apply to the scheme to raise a dispute and challenge reductions.

Protecting deposits is a legal requirement for landlords, and must be completed within 30 days of the tenancy starting.

The check-in report

You should be given a check-in report, including an inventory, upon moving into the property. The report will outline the condition of the home and its contents when you arrive.

Tips for Students Becoming Tenants

Tips for Students Becoming Tenants

When you leave at the end of the agreement, you must ensure that the property is in the condition that it was at the start, although you are allowed fair wear and tear. The check-in report acts as your evidence to the state of the property when you moved in.

If you explore the house and discover any damage or dirt not included in the report, or if a description is unfair, you could end up taking the blame at the end, and be charged to put it right.

Often, you will be asked to sign this document to prove that you agree with the contents. Not signing is usually taken as acceptance of the report. You should check it over, correct it if needed, and return it as soon as possible.

It is also a good idea to take photographic evidence, but ensure these are dated and labelled. You could send these to the landlord and letting agent, but keep a record of them being sent.

Your responsibilities

Tenancy agreements differ, but what is in them will explain which deductions can be made from your deposit. If you do not meet the responsibilities outlined, then you could risk losing money. Some obvious duties include: paying the rent on time, keeping the property clean, and not changing the property.

Smoking is generally not permitted in most tenancy agreements, due to the smell left behind and fire risks. Pets are typically not allowed, although you could get permission from the landlord. Gardens are a difficult area, as some tenants consider it an issue for the landlord to take care of, but the tenancy agreement may put you in charge of maintaining the garden.

The landlord is responsible for maintenance and repairs, and for keeping the home safe and habitable. However, tenants are accountable for letting the landlord know that works needs to be done. If repairs are needed, you should tell your landlord or agency as quickly as possible; if a problem is left, it could worsen, and you could be held responsible for delaying work.

Always record any communications relating to maintenance. If you meet face-to-face or speak on the phone, you should send a follow-up email to confirm what was agreed.

These are general examples, although if you do not meet any terms of the agreement, you could be at risk of losing some of your deposit. Your landlord may be flexible in changing some terms, but you should always get this in writing, or have the agreement updated.

Your housemates’ responsibilities

If your housemates are not fulfilling their duties, you could end up taking the blame and losing your deposit. Bills, rent, cleaning, and all other responsibilities are usually deemed joint obligations.

It is a good idea to discuss this when you move in. Be clear over what is paid, when, and by whom. Create a cleaning rota and ensure it is kept to. If anyone causes damage, agree if this person is responsible, or if you will all accept blame.

Changing tenants

It is common for students to leave their accommodation throughout the year, for various reasons.

You must tell your landlord or agent if a housemate has left, and whether they can be replaced. The agreement will be updated, and the deposit protected in the new tenants’ name. If the tenant who is leaving remains an official tenant, then they could face problems getting their deposit back.

Do not take it upon yourself to sub-let the property, unless you have written permission from the landlord. This is when you rent out a spare room to someone whilst you are still a tenant. In the majority of tenancy agreements, this is against the terms, and could get you evicted.


The TDS receive many disputes due to arguments being unresolved. If you always keep evidence of communications with you landlord or agent throughout the tenancy in writing, you will have good documentation of what has been said.

The deposit is your money, and if the landlord decides to deduct, they must be making a reasonable case. Keeping your own records will help to end disagreements quickly, and support your side.



About the Author: Em Morley (she/they)

Em is the Content Marketing Manager for Just Landlords, with over five years of experience writing for insurance and property websites. Together with the knowledge and expertise of the Just Landlords underwriting team, Em aims to provide those in the property industry with helpful resources. When she’s not at her computer researching and writing property and insurance guides, you’ll find her exploring the British countryside, searching for geocaches.

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