Tenancy deposits: Nottingham students ripped off by student letting agency
Looking for a new property to rent can be daunting for students, and the hefty deposits that students have to fork out can exhaust the excitement of the starting of a new academic year.
Getting a deposit back is a bone of contention that concerns most students.
15% of students tenants struggled to get their deposits back at the end of the tenancy in the year of 2018/19, as stated in the National Student Accommodation Survey 2019.
There have been lots of complaints from students about how long it has taken to get their tenancy deposit refunded from Uni2Rent, a letting agency in Nottingham.
I’m having problems getting my deposit back from @Uni2Rent, £250 each for my six flatmates, anyone else having the same problem in Nottingham? Terrible way to treat students 😡 @TrentUni @NottinghamPost @nottslive
— Eve Watson (@_evewatson) September 5, 2019
Dozens of student tenants have taken to Twitter to complain about how they've had problems getting their deposits—which was £250 per person—back within 10 days of requesting it after the end of the tenancy, which is a requirement that is stated by the Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP).
yesss! i lived in a 7 bedroom and they’re taking ages with it. i was the last to move out on the 3rd of august and we’ve still not had our deposits back yet. it’s ridiculous
— zak (@zakgeo) September 5, 2019
Zac Georgiou, a graduate of Nottingham Trent University, says he still remains unpaid after having been moved out from his flat for over a month. His friend, Eve Watson, stated that the agency didn't respond when she asked to have her deposit refunded until they complained about it on social media.
Those who are lucky enough to get paid within 10 days, were disappointed when they found out that their deposits had been deducted for unexpected reasons.
Student housing agencies are a joke!!!! We lived there for 2 years and get charged for normal wear and tear!! We lived in a house with a crack through the walls that you could see light through! It’s a joke!!!!!! @Uni2Rent pic.twitter.com/nFxn8CV8HV
— amaris (@amxris_) September 11, 2019
Rebeca Balls, a student studying at the University of Nottingham, said that roughly two-thirds of the £250 deposit for her tenancy last year was deducted by her landlord, including £95 for a stain on a mattress and £10 for uncleaned oven and fridge in the kitchen.
“It’s unfair as those stains had been already there when I moved in and I cleaned all space required including communal areas before I moved out, but I’m not the last to leave. If the one who’s still there messed up the kitchen after I left, it’s not for me to pay the price. But they’ve got photos for that moment and I had no evidence to defend…”, she says.
It's unclear how landlords evaluate the costs of stated damages, inventories are ambiguous and landlords are able to set the price for damages. “I had to pay the amount they put and there’s no way to argue whether it’s a fair price or not…”, Rebeca continues, “this can be a long-lasting trick for students who are moving in in the future and a stable source of extra money for landlords.”
According to the survey, the average rental deposit student tenants paid in the term of 2018/19 was £311 and admin charge of £119.
With the letting agent fees ban that came into force in June this year, student renters who apply for a new or to renew a tenancy agreement on or after 1st June 2019 will save around £119 each year.