For a lot of students, moving into rented accommodation and paying a deposit will be a new experience. It’s important to understand what your deposit is for and what it covers. With this in mind, we’ve provided some frequently asked questions to help you understand what might be required when signing your new contract.
A deposit is an amount paid by you at the start of your tenancy. This covers your landlord for any damage you may cause to the property, and to cover anything that goes missing.
The deposit is usually one month’s rent, but can vary. It’s worth finding out exactly how much you’ll be expected to pay upfront before you sign a contract.
If your rent agreement is on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, your landlord or letting agent must put your deposit in a government-backed Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDP) within 30 days of receiving it. This means that your landlord or letting agent is legally obliged to take out protection for your deposit. Make sure you ask your landlord or letting agent to provide proof of what scheme your deposit is held in.
When you move out, you're entitled to receive the deposit back in full as long as you haven’t caused damage to the property or any fittings, paid your rent and bills, and met the terms outlined in your tenancy agreement. If under a joint tenancy, check the rules in the contract as you could all be responsible for damage and therefore the loss of the deposit could be shared between you.
If both parties agree that something has been damaged, then estimates must be given for the cost to repair or replace. The landlord or letting agent should then inform the tenant of the deductions to the deposit.
Once you’ve moved into your new house, there are a number of ways you can try and ensure that you get your deposit back in full. Here are a few to consider:
If at the end of your tenancy your landlord is reluctant to return your money, identify which scheme your deposit is protected under by checking your tenancy agreement. You can then get in touch with the relevant scheme and they will then look into the matter independently and make a decision. This process is free and a decision will be based on factors such as damage to the property, as well as general wear and tear.
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Now you’ve settled on who you want to live with and decided on how much you’re going to spend on rent and bills; the next step is to find somewhere to live.
It’s a good idea to have the ‘money’ chat out of the way early on. Here we’ve covered some ideas on how you could split bills with housemates.
When looking for student houses, make sure you ask the letting agent or landlord plenty of questions before deciding on a potential new property.
To help you get on your way, we’ve created a list of some of the key things you’ll need to know about moving into a house.
An inventory is a document which records the condition and contents of a property.