Revealed: Why student landlords make deposit deductions

Steve Lumley·18 July 2022·5 min read
Revealed: Why student landlords make deposit deductions

Despite 88% of student landlords confirming that they have had to deduct money from a student tenant’s deposit, 60% of them believe that most students, in general, take good care of their rental accommodation.

The findings come from a poll undertaken by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) that asked landlords and agents about their experiences when renting properties to students.

The researchers found that there are some common grounds for disagreement on whether landlords have been deterred or encouraged from renting to future students.

Landlords had made a deposit deduction

When asked whether landlords had made a deposit deduction when the tenancy ended, 88% said they had done so. The common problems were:

  • Damage to property (48%)
  • Cleaning (36%)
  • Redecoration (9%)
  • Rent arrears (7%).

The research also asked landlords who do not rent property to students why they would not do so.

Those landlords raised issues with potential damage and problems with neighbours, ‘constant redecorating’ of the property and that students tend to be ‘irresponsible’ and ‘unclean’ - including holding too many late-night parties and being antisocial.

Student landlords and agents undertake a mid-tenancy inspection

The TDS survey also found that just over three-quarters of student landlords and agents undertake a mid-tenancy inspection.

And, more than half of landlords and agents said that they attended the check-in and the check-out process with their student tenants present.

TDS says it urges landlords and agents to have detailed inventories to help deal with deposit disputes as well as check-in/check-out reports to help manage their property effectively.

The TDS also says that the student accommodation sector in the UK is still offering great opportunities and their findings show that 86% of landlords and agents said they will continue letting properties to students.

The top causes for disputes

The TDS said: “The poll discovered common disagreements, the top causes for disputes and whether landlord experiences encourage or deter them from renting to a student in future.

“The results show the common concerns about renting to students are, to some extent, valid.

“However, there were no issues with neighbours, no anti-social reasons for disputes and claims for redecoration were a small percentage.”

The managing director of Accommodation for Students, Simon Thompson, said: “This is an interesting survey by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme and shows that student accommodation offers great potential for landlords with quality properties.

“In addition, it’s good to see that most landlords and agents are keen to rent to students in future and that many also carry out regular inspections to ensure that tenants are looking after their property.”

Students are reminded to be good neighbours when moving out

Meanwhile, one council is urging students in its city who are moving out this summer to be good neighbours and keep any noise to a minimum.

The reminder comes from Leeds City Council where more than 50,000 students are living and with tenancies coming to an end for the summer, the council says it is working closely with the University of Leeds, Leeds Beckett University, student letting agents and landlords to ensure that the moving out period is carried out smoothly.

The call comes after the council unveiled a dedicated service in February for tackling noise issues and anti-social behaviour in areas that have a large student population.

Dedicated team carrying out patrols every night

The service is fully funded by the two universities and there’s a dedicated team carrying out patrols every night, seven days a week.

Councillor Debra Coupar said: “Students in university in Leeds make a massive contribution to our economy and culture and we recognise that in high population student areas, some anti-social behaviour can arise.

“This was why we worked with universities when launching a dedicated service team and it has proved, so far, to be successful in de-escalating issues within communities.”

Message for students to be mindful of neighbours’

She added: “I would like to echo the message for students to be mindful of neighbours and follow the guidance on disposing of their waste properly.”

The wellbeing officer at Leeds University Union, Beth Eaton, said: “With more than two tonnes of stuff students no longer need collected already from across the city, and days to go before we close our summer collections, we have great evidence of the positive impact students can have on their community.

“The items will go to Leeds homes that need them, free of charge, providing much-needed help in this time of rising living costs.”