As students head back to university, many will be becoming tenants for the first time so it’s important that student landlords take the opportunity to offer guidance and support through this exciting time.
Here are some tips to share with your student tenants:
Cash you can’t splash
All reputable landlords ask for a deposit for the rental property so be sure to keep the necessary money aside. The deposit will be taken in addition to the first month’s rent so be sure to prepare for this upfront cost.
If you are sharing with others, make sure that you and your flatmates have calculated how much you will each need to contribute to the total and have budgeted adequately, ready for when you move in.
Protection is a must
Did you know that by law your tenancy deposit money must be protected? There are three government-authorised schemes which your landlord can use. Be sure to check that your deposit is protected and that you receive confirmation. For example, my|deposits provides a Deposit Protection Certificate which should be passed on to you.
Safeguarding your deposit
Although the majority of students don’t have any problems getting their deposit back at the end of their tenancy, you should be aware that any accidental spills or damage to the property will probably result in a deduction from your deposit. To minimise the chances of this happening, try to look after the property and keep it looking clean and tidy, as it was when you moved in. Also, remember to read the terms of the contract thoroughly to ensure you’re not breaking any rules. For example, there may be points about not putting nails into the walls and keeping the garden tidy.
“That scratch wasn’t there before!”
As part of the moving in process, your landlord or letting agent will prepare an inventory. This records the condition of the property and everything within it. This may also include detailed photographic evidence of the property’s condition.
The landlord, letting agent and the tenant should sign and date this document. Be sure to keep your copy safe as you will need it when the time comes to ‘check-out’ at the end of the tenancy.
Landlord and Tenant Communication
Be aware that your landlord may wish to conduct occasional checks on the property, perhaps every few months or so. Provided the landlord has given you 24 hours written notice of their intention to drop by, you must allow them entry.
The landlord will also want to conduct viewings with prospective tenants towards the end of the tenancy so bear this in mind.
And when it comes to the end of your tenancy, speak to your landlord about the return of the deposit directly. This is the most effective way to resolve disputes over the return of the deposit: communication between tenant and landlord is key.
Take care of your belongings
Avoid unwanted cost resulting from losses or thefts – student properties can be attractive to thieves – by organising contents insurance. Remember, this is your responsibility, and not your landlords.
Consider security too – prevention is key. Don’t leave windows open and doors unlocked when you are out and it’s also a good idea to set lights on timer when the property is empty during holidays.
What additional advice would you give to your students? Let us know!
To join the NLA and take advantage of their on-going support and up-to-date information for landlords, visit www.landlords.org.uk/membership