How to Avoid Deposit Disputes as a Student Tenant
Deposit disputes at student lettings can be stressful and time-consuming. Fortunately, with proper planning and preparation, most can be avoided altogether. As the new academic year begins, here are some things our Manchester student lettings specialists think students should know about that reduce the likelihood of deposit disputes.
The Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) Scheme and Prescribed Information
When you have paid your deposit, the landlord must place it in one of three government-approved tenancy deposit schemes within thirty days of receiving it. This ensures that you will get your deposit back if you meet the terms of your tenancy agreement, don’t damage the property, and pay your rent and bills. The rule applies even if your deposit is paid by someone other than yourself, such as your parents.
Within the same timeframe of 30 days, your landlord must serve you the Prescribed Information, which includes the details you will need on the TDP scheme, including how the deposit is protected and how to apply to get it back.
If there is a dispute over how much of your deposit you will get back, it will be protected in the TDP scheme until the issue is resolved. When you have come to an agreement with your landlord, they have ten days to return the agreed amount to you.
The Tenancy Agreement
A tenancy agreement is a contract between you and your landlord. It can be written or verbal, though it is generally better to have a written contract so that everyone knows what is expected of them. It should lay out the important details and responsibilities relating to your tenancy, including:
- Your name, the name of your landlord and the address of the property that is being let
- The start and end dates of your tenancy
- The rent amount and who is liable to pay it
- What the rent includes, for example council tax or electricity bills
- Cleaning and maintenance responsibilities. This should include the landlord’s obligations for making repairs to the property, and your responsibility to keep the property clean and tidy.
Sharing a house with other tenants
In addition to your tenancy agreement, it can be helpful to make a separate, informal agreement between yourself and the other tenants living at the property. It could be written or verbal, and might include the division of responsibilities like washing up and cleaning communal areas, and any rules to keep everybody happy, like not playing loud music after a certain time.
As well as maintaining good relationships between tenants, this could also benefit your relationship with your landlord by ensuring the house is kept in good condition and not disturbing the neighbours.
Know your landlord’s contact information
Your landlord must provide you with their name and address before they can charge rent. If you do not have this information, you can make a written request to the person who receives the rent for the full name and address of the landlord. They are then legally obliged to provide you with this information in writing within 21 days.
Start your search early for the next academic year
Landlords and student letting agents usually put their properties on the market early for the following academic year – often around mid-October. By taking advantage of this and finding your property early, you will have more properties to choose from and will be able to iron out all of the details with your landlord in plenty of time, reducing the risk of deposit disputes further down the line.
Further Information on our Manchester student lettings
Whilst following the advice here will significantly improve your chances of a dispute-free student tenancy, it doesn’t cover everything. To learn more about TDP schemes, tenancy agreements or anything else related to student lettings, contact us on 0161 509 5731 so we can advise you further.
Student Haus is part of Mistoria Estate Agents, one of the leading student lettings agencies in the North West, with offices in Manchester, Salford, Liverpool and Bolton. Our Comprehensive Property Protection means all properties go through our inventory service to include photographic or video evidence, protecting both tenant and landlord.
We are members of ARLA Propertymark which means we meet higher industry standards than the law demands. Our experts undertake regular training to ensure they are up to date with best practice and complex legislative changes so they can offer you the best advice. We are also backed by a Client Money Protection scheme which guarantees your money is protected.