TDS to student: how to retain deposits

Written by RLA

If You Don’t Want To Lose Your Deposit, Now Is The Time To Act, Student Tenants Warned 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…

If You Don’t Want To Lose Your Deposit, Now Is The Time To Act, Student Tenants Warned 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 mind-set 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.

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The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) represents the interests of landlords in the private rented sector (PRS) across England and Wales. With over 23,000 subscribing members, and an additional 16,000 registered guests who engage regularly with the association, we are the leading voice of private landlords. Combined, they manage almost half a million properties.


  • We are issuing this year a detailed document on living in our student house. Explaining what they can’t do and what they can do. It will detail all aspects of living in a house together with others. We are trying cover as much as possible so that each student is fully aware of their responsibilities and what our responsibilities are as landlords. No doubt teh document will grow as the years go by and new problems arise that require guidance.
    They have to read the document and have to sign it when they have fully understood the contents.
    It will not be to complicated, even a student will be able to understand it, it’s mostly common sense but lets face it, many student will have come from all sorts of backgrounds and homes, and will have done thing differently. The document is there to help the students live together in some sort of harmony without destroying the property. All damage are to be paid for, regardless of who did the damage, it is a joint responsibility for sharing a home together.

  • It is almost impossible to have a fair and balanced relationship with many student tenants, it is our experience that a large proportion have an almost comical lack of insight in to adult life and responsibility – and refuse to be taught. Our best example this year was an angry email from a student demanding a new bed and mattress, not because the was any defect – simply she had bought the wrong size bedding. We were very polite. Last year we won a deposit dispute, over the cost of replacing a good quality wardrobe that had been left outside for weeks. The student tenant was genuinely and fiercely indignant that she should be forced to pay. She said she had preferred to buy a larger one of her own, and didn’t have enough space in the (furnished) bedroom for both. We get a clear idea by about week number 2 which way a student’s tenancy is going. We do everything we can for the ones who know how to behave, and take a firm line with the rest. The rent margins in Manchester from student tenancies over family/ professional tenancies are no longer that great, no longer really worthwhile.

  • As a worker in the end of tenancy cleaning industry I can honestly say, I’ve seen many horrific situations left by students who are on their way moving to a new place. But students will be students and won’t care a lot about cleaning and damage, at least not until things come to the deposit money. The landlord and tenant relationships can be tricky that’s why everything should be written in paper.

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