Students at universities and colleges all over the UK are building a database of problems with landlords who are failing to return deposits at the end of a tenancy.
Some students are losing deposits of £1,000 or more when they move out at the end of term.
Now, student unions are collecting information about the issue with a view to helping students understand the law and how they can dispute a landlord’s claim.
Private landlords take deposits for student digs at the outset of a tenancy that generally equate to a month or six week’s rent.
The deposit should be placed on protection in a government-backed scheme in england or Wales. A similar scheme is about to start in Scotland.
The money should be returned in full at the end of the tenancy, providing the tenant has no rent arrears or has not damaged the property.
Landlords and tenants often dispute who is responsible for damage to student digs.
Most disputes cover reasonable wear-and-tear and whether specific damage comes under this category as landlords cannot demand payment for wear-and-tear.
One Scottish university has revealed they are among those carrying out the research.
Dundee University Students Association vice-president Navid Gornall said: "Significant issues with tenants' deposits have been brought up time and time again.
"Over the two months we will be assessing the issue and, in the process of moving towards a solution, educating the student population about appropriate dispute resolution."
"We have recognised the issue with landlords taking advantage of students' rent property deposits. It's not uncommon to have reports of student households losing four figure sums of money.”
Findings from research by the National Union of Students Scotland show around a third of students believe a deposit was retained unfairly by a landlord.