Preparing to leave student accommodation can be daunting at the best of times. This guide is based on some of the more common queries that we advise on each year and will help to prevent problems for occurring, and if they do help your ability to cope with them.
At the end of your tenancy, remember to take final meter readings and to inform the utility companies of your forwarding address so you can obtain the final bill. Some tenancy agreements state that all bills need to be paid in full before the deposit is returned.
It is advisable to check the condition of the property and all items on the inventory in the presence of the landlord or agent to avoid any disputes over damage. If you are concerned that a dispute will arise, it is advisable to take photographs of the property (inside and out) when you leave.
If you leave the property in a good state your deposit will usually be returned within a few weeks. However if your landlord or agent decides to withhold your deposit, in part or full, and you disagree with this you should immediately contact the deposit protection scheme with which it is protected. Some schemes have strict deadlines for registering a dispute or else you may lose protection of the scheme. This is where evidence such as photos, inventories and copies of the tenancy agreement are all crucial.
A landlord or agent has to show what it has cost them to get the property back to standard. The amounts must be reasonable and they must show invoices and/or receipts. They cannot charge for fair wear and tear throughout the tenancy, natural depreciations of things which may need replacing after a certain length of time. Common expenses that they charge for include:
- The cost of removing rubbish from inside or outside the property.
- Any outstanding rent, arrears or utility bills including situations of joint tenancies.
- The cost of replacing keys if they were not all returned.
- Redecoration costs, for example, if a room has been painted without permission.
- The cost of cleaning the property to return it to a condition ready for let.
- Repairing damage to fixtures and fittings such as furniture/carpets.
- Repairing damage to the property such as broken doors/windows.
- The landlord or agent can make additional charges if there are specific clauses in your agreement such as administration charges for late rent.
Below are some tips to help ensure your deposit is returned in full:
- Put all furniture back in its original position.
- Remove all your possessions (you may get charged if you leave this to the landlord/agent).
- Check the walls for damage and patch up as needed.
- Check furniture, appliances, sinks and toilet for damage.
- Thoroughly clean, dust and hoover the property (including fridge freezers and the oven).
- Check your tenancy agreement and see if curtains and carpets need to be cleaned.
- Make sure electrical and gas appliances are turned off, windows and doors are closed and locked.
- Redirect any mail to your new address.
- Check your tenancy agreement to make sure you have done everything required before leaving.
- Finally, once you return the keys ask your landlord/agent to sign to say they have been received.
Most tenancies are for a fixed period of time, which means you are liable for the rent for the whole of the term of the tenancy agreement, even if you decide you don’t like the place you’re living, the people you live with, or you want to move out for other reasons.
You can leave the accommodation but you’ll often either need to pay the rent until the end of your tenancy agreement unless it has a clause allowing you to leave early. Usually you will need to seek permission from the landlord, agent and in some cases other tenants. This is often only when you have found a suitable replacement which can be difficult if you are a joint tenant because the replacement must be acceptable to the remaining tenants and to the landlord.
The replacement tenant and original tenants should sign a new Assured Shorthold tenancy agreement. You should ask your landlord or agent to confirm in writing that they have agreed to release you from the tenancy agreement and that your deposit is to be returned. If you are considering leaving before the end of the tenancy get in contact to discuss your options.
What can the AberSU Advice Service do to help?
The AberSU Advice Service provides free, confidential and impartial advice and information for all Aberystwyth University students.
The Advice Service can assist you in a range of ways, including:
- Explain the rights and responsibilities of landlords, letting agents and tenants.
- Review and advise on tenancy agreements before and after signing.
- Support you in the event of a dispute, liaising with the landlord or letting agent.
- Help you to collate appropriate evidence where required to support your case.
The service is delivered by email and over the phone. We also undertake other activities and events to develop awareness of student rights and responsibilities to ensure you are as happy and healthy as possible during your time in Aberystwyth.
To get in touch to discuss all of your options, including what support is available to you, please contact us using any of the methods below:
Phone: 01970 621712 or 07851 662202
Reviewed: September 2018
Disclaimer: We have made every effort to ensure that the information in this guide is accurate. AberSU cannot be held responsible for the consequences of any action taken as a result of reading this guide. Before taking any action you are advised to visit the Advice Service.