Help With Your Student Accommodation DepositWritten By PropertyLoop September 09, 2021
Many choose to let out their rental property to full time students as it can offer landlords the additional financial security they seek out in every tenancy. Whilst student rentals may be somewhat synonymous with tenancy deposit deductions, guarantors and high cleaning costs, they are a popular choice amongst rental property owners for their economic predictability. No landlord wishes to experience a void period, after all if the property is vacant no rent is being paid; but when renting to students, landlords have a clear understanding of when the academic year will take place, and therefore when they will need to start the search for their next tenants. Not only that but with a fresh wave of young adults entering into further education each year, landlords will never but short of aspiring tenants.
Whilst many of those that choose to rent their properties to students will safeguard themselves through taking the maximum five week deposit, alongside requesting their tenants obtain a guarantor. However, even with such measures in place landlords and renters alike can benefit from knowing the common causes for deductions and disputes, whilst helping students to know what they can do to keep their tenancy deposit in full.
Can a Landlord Charge for Cleaning?
This can be somewhat unsurprising to many landlords that rent to full time students, and perhaps even those that have not as the student demographic are synonymous with deductions being made for damages to the property. Whilst in some cases some rental property owners address this by ensuring that the items they furnish their accommodation with are cheap and easily replaceable to minimise their expenditure for such costs; alternately other landlords simply choose to request their tenants pay the maximum amount for the tenancy deposit, often the equivalent cost of five weeks rent.
According to data gathered by the National residential landlords association, deductions being proposed for cleaning the rental property are one of the most common causes for disputes between owners and renters, taking place in 26% of all tenancies, but does go on to state that this figure would be higher if exclusively considering student rental opportunities. Student renters must understand that when they enter into a tenancy agreement they are expected to return the property at the end of the fixed period in a similar condition to that at the start of the rental period. Further to this the occupants of the rental property will also be expected to conduct themselves in a tenant like manner, seeing them regularly clean the property, ensure that the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are in working order, alongside reporting any safety concerns or damage to the landlord or letting agent as soon as possible.
Disputing Deposit Deductions
If a landlord wishes to make a deduction from the amount of the tenancy deposit that is being returned to the tenant, then they must be able to provide justification for this deduction, revealing the expenses for repairing damage in the property, replacing furnishings, appliances, or recovering any missing rent payments. After paying the landlord the requested amounts for the security deposit, these sums must be entered into a government approved deposit protection scheme, with the landlord providing the tenant with not only details of the scheme, but the specific reasonings that deductions can be made from the amount being returned.
Despite these longstanding regulations, over a fifth of all disputed deductions in student tenancies occur for unknown reasons. This is due to the landlord deducting either part, or the full security deposit with no justification for the deductions being given. If a dispute is raised with the tenancy deposit protection scheme and the owner of the rental property is unable to provide the impartial adjudicator with any evidence of damage or missing rent, the sums taken for the deposit will be retuned to the tenant.
When moving into the property the landlord and the inhabitants will carry out an inspection of the rental, documenting the condition of each space, furnishing and appliance, with photos being taken of anything that is detailed. This will then serve as a report called the “property inventory” that will be referred to at the end of the tenancy to accurately assess any change in the condition of the property, informing how many deductions the landlord will make, if any. Additionally, if the tenant wishes to dispute any deductions the landlord wishes to make they will be able to refer to the property inventory to show any damage that had occurred before their tenancy.
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