You may remember that we previously consulted landlords about the level of security deposit paid by student tenants.
Having seen halls of residence and purpose-built student accommodation offer “zero deposit” or extremely low deposit deals to prospective tenants, we speculated whether it was sensible for landlords to continue asking for a deposit equivalent to a month’s rent – sometimes more – especially when the chance of success in a deposit dispute is slim.
We spoke to many landlords about increasing August’s rent to full-rent (instead of the traditional half-rent) and scrapping the deposit/bond tenants are asked to pay upfront as security against the property.
The response was extremely positive and the vast majority of student landlords agreed with our suggestion; realising that the security of tenants at good rents, with full-rent in August rather than half-rent, goes some way to assuage the lack of deposit and inevitable repair costs.
This summer, we had over 450 HMO student tenancies come to an end. 85% of them didn’t have a deposit, but – in our experience – that didn’t affect the way they left their property, leaving us to conclude that tenants leave houses and flats responsibly, regardless of no deposit.
We didn’t leave it all to chance, of course. We were very specific in our vacating instructions to tenants, making sure to remind them that even though they didn’t have a deposit, their tenancy agreement still required them to leave the property as they found it and their landlord could, if desired, pursue any excessive claims in court. We also provided a plethora of ‘how to return your property’ advice, including video guides and tales from yesteryear.
Don’t get us wrong: most landlords had to cover the cost of some cleaning and occasionally a few extras, but we don’t think it should be viewed like that. Landlords have, in effect, had the deposit paid to them via the increased rent in August (see above), so they’re simply using some of that figure towards the required remedial work. The remainder is profit.