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Danielle Clements, our leading property dispute solicitor at Gorvins spoke to The Daily Mail with some advice for parents regarding tenancy deposit protection. With the new university year about to begin, thousands will sign onto a new tenancy, Danielle advised:

“Most student tenancies in England and Wales should be in the form of an assured shorthold tenancy (AST). The landlord should protect the deposit in a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme (TDS). This is vital, as once in the TDS, the landlord can only make deductions from the deposit at the end of the tenancy if they have valid reasons-such as damage or unpaid rent.

In the event of a dispute, each TDS scheme has an adjudicator who will decide if the reasons for the deduction are legitimate or not. If you have broken something that is ten years old, the landlord cannot claim the cost of a new item. The costs should be like for like.”

Danielle went on to discuss things that can be put in place for further deposit protection:

“Safeguards such as keeping a receipt of the deposit and recording the condition of the property  at the time the tenancy commences. Before quitting the property, make sure all bills are paid and ask for proof of payment. If a landlord still refuses to hand back the money, it’s vital to notify the deposit protection scheme within three months of the end of the tenancy. The Student Union will have advisers on how to embark on proceedings, as well as Citizens Advice and the charity Shelter.

In the event that the student signs an AST, yet their deposit is not protected, there are financial penalties that can and will be imposed upon the landlord, usually through a small-claims action. This can result in the landlord not only repaying the deposit, but also up to three times the amount. It’s also vital to inform a landlord before starting proceedings by sending a formal letter, known as a ‘letter before action’. A word of caution, one thing students must not do is withhold paying the last months rent, as this is illegal and the landlord may take court action to recover the debt”.

If you have any questions or concerns and would like to speak to Danielle, or another member of our Dispute Resolution & Litigation team, call us on 0343 507 5151 or e-mail disputeresolutionteam@gorvins.com

The full article can be found here.