With student season upon us, we wanted to use our #ASKTDS blog to answer common questions we receive from agents and landlords. Whether you’re an experienced student landlord or new to student lettings, the Tenancy Deposit Scheme aims to answer your burning questions related to student lets, and advise how to avoid potential deposit disputes at the end of the tenancy.
When you rent out your property to multiple students, you have two primary options: joint tenancy or individual tenancy.
In a joint tenancy, all tenants sign a single Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreement. They are jointly responsible for the property and any potential issues such as rental arrears or damages. The tenancy deposit in this case is pooled together and associated with their collective obligations.
In an individual tenancy, each tenant signs their own AST agreement and is responsible for their own space within the property. This type of agreement is most common when renting out properties on a room-by-room basis. The choice depends on what is most suitable for your property and your tenants.
Blu-tac and nails are considered avoidable damage and therefore, are not considered fair wear and tear. In this case, if the tenant is not permitted to make any alterations to the property without first obtaining the permission of the landlord, then you will be able to submit a deposit deduction. If the tenant did get permission to alter the property in any way to include adding fixings to the walls, the tenant should be able to provide written evidence of this permission in support of their statement. Assuming the walls were freshly painted prior to the student moving in, you would likely be awarded compensation. It is essential that your tenants are aware of the obligations placed on them by the tenancy agreement. Highlight key dos and don’ts at the beginning of the tenancy, so the students are aware of what’s expected of them.
Early termination of a tenancy can occur when students leave the property before the end of their course or the tenancy agreement. In cases like this, the student will remain liable for the rent until the end date stated in their contract. The landlord however, may agree to end the tenancy early if a suitable replacement tenant can be found.
In cases where rent is still due at the end of the tenancy, the landlord is entitled to enforce the tenancy contract and can use the deposit to cover the unpaid rent. However, a more cost-effective and faster solution may be to negotiate a payment plan with the students and encourage them to seek financial support from available university hardship funds. At TDS, we provide our customers a free mediation and conciliation service for issues just like this. Please visit TDS Resolution to find out more.
Renting to students can be a rewarding experience, but it does come with its own set of unique challenges. From handling premature termination of tenancies and managing end-of-tenancy challenges, you have a lot to consider.
By following our guidance and using the landlord deposit protection services offered by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, you can safely navigate these challenges and maintain a positive relationship with your student tenants.
Protect yourself and your student tenants with the government-approved deposit protection scheme, the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
We offer free deposit protection in our Custodial scheme, and the lowest rates in our Insured scheme.