HEMEL HEMPSTEAD, England, September 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
Act now or risk losing your deposit next year - this was the warning given to students moving into rented accommodation by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
Speaking at an event for university housing advisors at student housing charity Unipol, TDS Director of Customer Relations Ben Beadle said that despite being the biggest single cost of moving into rented accommodation, there is a "distinct lack of knowledge" amongst students when it comes to tenancy deposits.
Research from the NUS published earlier this year revealed that almost half of student tenants were unsure if their deposit was protected, and a fifth had definitely not received the legally required paperwork confirming protection.
"It is clear that a distinct lack of knowledge exists," Mr Beadle told housing advisors.
"At TDS we have seen a sharp rise in queries from students over the summer having issues reclaiming their deposits. Many don't know if their deposit is protected or what the money can be used for; both are questions they need to ask at the start of the tenancy."
He highlighted a tendency amongst tenants to see deposits just as a matter for moving out.
"We need to help tenants turn this mindset on its head. When renting, getting your deposit back hangs on the action you take from the day you move in, not just when you move out. Most importantly, tenants must check that the deposit is protected in a government-approved scheme."
When protected in a scheme, tenants have access to free and impartial dispute resolution to challenge deductions from their deposit. It is then down to the landlord to provide evidence justifying their charges to an adjudicator.
Mr Beadle continued:
"Cleaning and damage are the biggest reasons for landlords to hold money back from tenants' deposits. Tenants also need to read the inventory and check-in report as soon as they move in. This is their opportunity to make corrections and agree on the condition of the property, saving disagreement later on."
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme will be publishing a series of blogs with deposit advice for new student tenants over the new term period.
Notes to editors
- NUS data taken from: Homes fit for study, The state of student housing in the UK http://www.nus.org.uk/Global/Homes%20Fit%20For%20Study/Housing%20research%20report_web.pdf
- Ben Beadle, Director of Customer Relations, was speaking at a two day event for student union representatives and university staff called "Student Housing: What unions can do" held by Unipol, a student housing charity based in Leeds.
- The Tenancy Deposit Scheme protects around 1 million deposits in England and Wales totalling £1billion.
- Landlords are required by the Housing Act 2004 to protect deposits on assured shorthold tenancies within 30 days. Failure to do so results in the landlord having to return the deposit in full, pay compensation of between one and three times the value of the deposit, and face restrictions in being able to evict the tenant.
Media contact: Chris Kendall
SOURCE Tenancy Deposit Scheme