Bristol – The Deposit Protections Service (The DPS) has issued guidance on student property check-ins in anticipation of significant demand for rental properties this autumn.
The UK’s largest protector of deposits said that 425,830 students are due to start degree courses this month: the second highest number of university admissions on record.
The organisation added that some academic institutions have already said they might not be able to house all first-year students in University accommodation, leaving them to arrange tenancies in the Private Rental Sector (PRS).
Matt Trevett, Managing Director at The DPS said: ”The combination of historically high university applications, students deferring their places during the pandemic and a shortage of rental properties means that higher-than-expected numbers of students could be looking for private accommodation this autumn.
“We would encourage students, letting agents and landlords arranging tenancies during the next few weeks to follow a number of key steps to ensure a smooth tenancy and avoid the risk of falling into a dispute at the end.”
Below are The DPS’ top tips for landlords and students looking to organise private rented accommodation this year.
1. Check out the landlord
If you don’t know the landlord, check their name against the University or student union’s list of approved landlords. This is especially important if a tenant is arranging accommodation remotely.
2. Landlords must protect a deposit with a proper deposit scheme
Every UK landlord must by law protect a rental deposit with a Government-backed deposit protection scheme. Within 30 days of receiving the deposit, landlords must also confirm a number of property and deposit details, including their chosen deposit scheme, their name and address and any other contributing tenants or third parties. Landlords who don’t do this may have to pay a penalty of between one and three times the property deposit amount.
3. Check the tenancy agreement
Tenants should receive a tenancy agreement that spells out their obligations while renting a property. They should review the agreement at the start of the academic year to understand what they need to do. Tenants who do not receive this document should make sure they ask their landlord or letting agent for a copy.
4. Attend the check-in
The check-in provides an opportunity for the landlord or letting agent to agree the condition of the property with the tenant before they have moved in.
5. Review the inventory
An inventory should include accurate and factual descriptions of the condition of fixtures, including carpets, appliances, the walls and any garden as well as any existing damage. Tenants and landlords can make clear and concise amendments to the document so long as both parties sign it. This will help guide discussions about potential deposit deductions at the end of the tenancy.
6. Include date-stamped photographs
Date-stamped photographs should clearly show the condition of an item or any existing damage that has gone beyond reasonable wear and tear. Tenants and landlords should still submit images as part of a claim even if they are not date-stamped because it may be possible to extract the information from the digital file.
7. Report any damage or defects immediately
Tenants should swiftly report any damage or defects that take place during the tenancy to the landlord, backed by an email. Landlords should also spell out that tenants sharing a property are jointly liable for any damage – including breakages and any issues with common areas. Openness from tenants when something goes wrong can help prevent disagreements at check-out.
8. Keep copies of all conversations
Record all communication with a tenant or landlord in writing, especially anything agreed after the start of the tenancy, and email it to the other party. Taking screen shots of text message exchanges records dates and even times and counts as evidence in the event of a dispute.
9. Keep all documents in a safe place
File copies of all tenancy-related documents, receipts and emails so that they are easily accessible in the event of any disagreement at the end of the tenancy, or simply to ensure a smooth check-out.
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- The DPS is the original and largest custodial deposit protection scheme in England and Wales.
- Since 2007 The DPS has protected just over 1.8m deposits.
- In total, 425,830 students have been accepted on to degree courses this year according to Government figures, the second highest year for University admissions, according to the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).
- The supply of privately-rented homes has fallen by 260,00 during the past five years, according to the National Resident Landlord Association (NRLA).
- A number of UK Universities have said they cannot guarantee First Year University accommodation to all students this year.
About The DPS
The Deposit Protection Service’s custodial tenancy deposit protection scheme is accredited by the Government. It is provided free of charge, and funded entirely by the interest earned from deposits held in the scheme. The DPS was approved by the UK government to run an insured TDP scheme in September 2012 in addition to the approval it has already been granted by the UK government in respect of the custodial scheme. The DPS is run by Computershare Investor Services PLC. Online self-service allows landlords to register and make deposit payments, transfers and repayments 24 hours a day. Help and advice is available through a dedicated call centre during office hours. An impartial Dispute Resolution Service, helps to resolve any disputes quickly and without the need for court action.
About Computershare Limited (CPU)
Computershare (ASX: CPU) is a global market leader in transfer agency and share registration, employee equity plans, mortgage servicing, proxy solicitation and stakeholder communications. We also specialise in corporate trust, bankruptcy, class action and a range of other diversified financial and governance services.
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