What are the top three reasons for student deposit disputes?

After an extended break due to Covid-19, thousands of students will be dragging themselves back to uni this autumn and their student digs.

Related topics:  Landlords
Property Reporter
17th September 2020
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For many years now, the student accommodation sector has been one of the most lucrative for landlords. But it can also be one of the sectors that can cause the most headaches for landlords.

Newly released research by deposit replacement scheme, Ome, has highlighted the top three causes of student deposit disputes.

Because, in keeping with the stereotypes surrounding students and their dirty digs, the research found that as many as 44% of student deposit disputes were due to an issue with cleaning.

Ome’s research, which used data provided by government authorised deposit protection scheme mydeposits, found that the most common reasons for student disputes are cleaning concerns, unknown issues where the landlord does not state a reason or general redecoration.

To avoid these pitfalls and reduce the risk of potential disputes, check out the Hamilton Fraser end of tenancy cleaning and inventory checklist here. Perhaps cleaning remains such a recurring issue for student tenants due to the subjective interpretation of what an acceptable standard looks like.

The second most common cause for student disputes, according to Ome, is when the deposit has been withheld for an unknown reason; this impacts 22% of student disputes.

A total of 447 disputes were raised out of 34,406 protected student deposits, and the third most common grievance was general redecoration, making up 13% of student disputes.

Matthew Hooker, Co-founder of Ome, commented:

“It’s interesting that this data highlights how cleaning is the main reason why student deposits are disputed. And in general, it’s widely known that the disputes process can be painful for all parties involved, that’s why at Ome we offer a free dispute resolution process included in our Deposit Replacement Membership.

"For renters who find it tricky to part with the lump sum for a traditional deposit at the beginning of their tenancy, Ome offers a replacement, with bitesize monthly payments which could be especially helpful for students waiting on student finance payments at the start of term.”

Suzy Hershman, Head of Dispute Resolution at mydeposits, adds:

“Since the majority of disputes involve cleaning, it’s important that tenants check and keep their inventories, which should record the standard of cleaning (through both written notes and photographs) when they move in.

"Students who are moving away from home for the first time may not be aware of the importance of checking and, if needed, amending this information as soon as possible after moving in. This will allow them and their agent to accurately compare the condition of the property at the start and end of the tenancy and could be useful when negotiating any costs.”

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