Students lost a total of £32 million in rental deposits at the end of last term according to new research from the comparison website money.co.uk.
The research found the students lost on average £164, almost a third of their deposits, after moving out of privately rented accommodation. Four out of ten students asked had part of their deposit kept by their landlord, with two in three of these feeling it had been retained unfairly.
The research also suggested that four out of five students are not signing a photo inventory when they move in, meaning there was no evidence of the ‘before and after’ condition of the property.
The research reveals that under these figures the total lost by students would reach £32 million, for 196,766 students across the country.
Hannah Maundrell, Editor-in-Chief of money.co.uk, comments: “This will be the first time many students have rented their own place. There are so many things to think about but making sure your deposit is protected is key so you’re not left out of pocket when you move out.
“Students must make sure they keep the property in a decent state so there’s no reason for their landlord to keep their cash—this is money they’ll be relying on getting back.
“With over half a million students in private rented accommodation the scope for problems is huge. Without signing a photo inventory you run the risk of losing money every time you move out as it’s your word against your landlord’s if things go wrong.
Student debt is already colossal and forfeiting your deposit is an unnecessary loss at the end of the year.”
Saffa Mir, Community Officer of the University of Manchester Students’ Union, told The Mancunion: “It is very unfortunate to read figures like these, however what is even more unfortunate is that figures like these are not surprising. The advice service in the students union do great work in helping students in a range of housing issues, including helping students facing difficulties in obtaining their deposits back.
This year however I hope to prevent cases like these regularly occurring by launching an education campaign with a series of workshops for students in November, particularly those in their first year to educate students on knowing their rights before renting, so students understand what rights they have when entering the housing sector.
Look out for these workshops and in the meantime if you find yourself in difficulty with your landlord feel free to contact the advice service.”
To help protect yourself from a similar experience you can find money.co.uk’s useful guide here.