The BBC reported last week that students are up-in-arms about the treatment they receive from landlords, specifically at the end of their tenancies. The BBC reported, Jessica Hickey of the University of Lincoln, is challenging her deposit reduction for her and her housemates, amounting to £1,600. Miss Hickey is claiming that her deposit has been wrongly retained and additional fees added because she and her housemates were told that they did not leave the property in “a fit state” but the concerns raised by the landlord “did not allow for wear and tear”. She also states that items the landlord is claiming for include things she, and her housemates, requested him to fix during their tenancy. The BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme also reports that they have heard from “dozens” of students experiencing similar issues with deposits being withheld.
The dilapidations process (the process by which a tenant leaves the property and is returned their deposit) is long-overdue an overhaul. In addition, many tenants do not know their right to contest their landlord’s deposit claim. The Tenancy Fees Act 2019 is intended to protect against unfair fees, but does not cover issues related to unfairly withheld deposits. The government-backed Tenancy Deposit Scheme does afford some protection however disputes over amounts withheld can take months leaving many students seriously out of pocket.
The National Union of Students (NUS) is now calling for a change of legislation to solve this issue. With 27% of students stating that they formally challenged their deposit return deductions but withdrawing and paying them anyway and 24% disagreeing with the deductions but not challenging it, clearly this is a concern for students across the country.
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