DEPOSITS IN PRIVATE RENTED ACCOMMODATION
When a tenancy agreement is made the landlord will normally require a SECURITY DEPOSIT. This is intended to cover the landlord against issues such as rent arrears or damage to the property. Most students will have a type of tenancy that where there is a legal requirement on the landlord to pay the deposit into a tenancy deposit scheme and to provide the tenant with information about the scheme and the tenant’s rights under it within 14 days of receiving the deposit. Such a scheme safeguards the deposit so that a tenant is guaranteed to get it back at the end of the tenancy PROVIDED HE OR SHE IS ENTITLED TO IT.
It is reasonable for the landlord to take money off the deposit to cover things such as damage to the property, missing items or outstanding rent. However ‘fair wear and tear’ is accepted, It is therefore important that the tenant and landlord or agent agree what the contents and the condition of the property are at the start of the tenancy.
A written inventory signed by both parties is a good way of doing this. The tenant may also wish to take (preferably dated) photographs of any pre-existing damage or disrepair to the property or its contents in case of dispute at a later date. For further information on problems with deposits please contact the Advice Centre.
If you are unsure as to whether or not your landlord should be keeping your deposit then you could use Shelter's online Deposit checker.