An online lettings firm has claimed that last year students lost out on a cumulative total of £32 million in lost deposits for a variety of different factors, ranging from uncleanliness to rental arrears.
Online agency StudentTenant found that during the last year four out of 10 students lost part, or even the entire sum of their deposits to landlords, due to not complying with the terms of the tenancy agreement.
The main reason cited for retaining the deposits of student tenants was the need for professional cleaning, with 52 per cent suffering from this. Damage to fixtures and fittings was also a fairly common problem, with 24 per cent of retained money attributed to this factor. Excessive wear and tear was another significant issue at 22 per cent, with unpaid bills coming in last place. A mere 5 per cent had cited rental arrears as a reason for retaining the deposit at the end of a tenancy.
The average figure kept back by the landlord was a third of the deposit sum, equating to approximately £164 on average.
However, somewhat controversially the research revealed that a small proportion of landlords opted not to place student deposits in government protected schemes. This is likely because many students remain unaware that it is compulsory for all private sector landlords to protect the money of their tenants in an accredited government backed tenancy deposit scheme. As students become more aware of this requirement, it is imperative that landlords comply with the deposit regulations, to avoid possible problems at the end of the tenancy.
A website spokesman explained: ‘Students must be made aware that they have a right to see paperwork to prove their deposits are protected by one of the schemes. Landlords are legally obliged to put deposits into these to protect themselves and their tenants within 30 days, but it’s just not made clear enough for students.’