Get your deposit protected!
There are lots of things to consider when you're moving out of halls and your deposit should be high up on your list.
Your deposit needs to be taken seriously because it can be hard to get that money together, whether your family can help you out or not, so you definitely don't want to lose that money either.
Yep, you can quite easily lose your deposit money if you're not careful. That's exactly why you need to have a Deposit Protection Scheme in place; to make sure that your money is safe and that your landlord doesn't get to keep your money!
How do I get protected?
Every landlord MUST put your deposit into a Deposit Protection Service or Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme, which means that the money is safe throughout your tenancy. Also, if you were to have any unfortunate disputes at the end of your tenancy, you'd be protected. For example, if you move out and your landlord thinks you have damaged the shower and won't return your deposit to you as a result, you have some protection in place to help you get your deposit back.
In an ideal situation, you would have checked that your deposit is protected BEFORE paying it but don't worry if you didn't. Legally, your landlord must put your deposit into some sort of protection scheme within 30 days of your payment, so chase this up and check that something is in place - they need to send you proof of this! If this isn't sorted, you are legally allowed to claim some compensation from them.
Top tips for protecting your deposit
There are some really simple ways to ensure that you have no problems when it comes to getting your deposit back at the end of your tenancy - here's how to get yourself prepped:
- Pay close attention to your inventory which will list everything in your property at the time of you moving in. Make sure you go around the property on move-in day triple checking EVERYTHING according to the inventory. You will be super excited, rightly so, but try to get it out of the way first thing.
- Take pictures of absolutely everything when you move in too so that if that unfortunate broken shower dispute starts, both parties know the condition of it at the start of your tenancy and you have pictures to back up what you're saying.
- Keep a physical note of things that happen at the property i.e. if a repairman comes to the property or if things repeatably break just pop it in your diary or notes on your phone. All of this will help you if you do happen to have any problems - fingers crossed though!
- Get proof of everything is the most important point because if you get receipts of all your payments, copies of all email communications etc, you shouldn't have any problems.
Moving into private accommodation is a really exciting time and it's a whole new chapter in your life with new experiences and challenges, so don't let a lack of deposit protection ruin that.
If you're unsure of your rights or if you have protection, you can speak to your landlord/estate agent, Student Services, the Students' Union or a member of the Accommodation Team!
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