#AskTDS ‘We have just let out our first student property, is there anything I need to consider in relation to the tenancy deposit?’

#AskTDS ‘We have just let out our first student property, is there anything I need to consider in relation to the tenancy deposit?’

| 18 September 2020

In this week’s #AskTDS, a letting agent asks about tenancy deposit protection for student lets.

In this week’s #AskTDS, a letting agent asks about tenancy deposit protection for student lets.

Whether this is your first student let or you’ve been letting out student accommodation for some time, you must always protect your tenants deposit(s) in a government-approved tenancy deposit protection scheme such as TDSNI Custodial or TDSNI Insured. This is a legal requirement and must be done within 14 days of receiving the deposit(s).

You must also serve the prescribed information to the tenant within this 28 day timeframe. If your students are sharing the property, you will need to give this document to each student tenant. The form is pre-populated with the tenancy information and a copy emailed to you, or alternatively you can download a copy from the deposit summary page in your online account.

You will need to accompany this with the following information for your tenants, which will be held in your TDSNI deposit management portal and completed on Prescribed Information:

  • The contact details of your letting agency
  • The tenancy address
  • The value of the deposit
  • The name and contact details of any third party who paid the deposit – referred to in legislation as a ‘relevant person’, such as a guarantor or family member
  • The name and contact details of the tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme (such as the Tenancy Deposit Scheme Northern Ireland) and its dispute resolution service
  • Reasons for why money may be deducted from the deposit at the end of the tenancy (for example, if a tenant damages the property and the landlord incurs repair costs) in the deposit use clause
  • How to claim the deposit back at the end of the tenancy (this may differ depending on which scheme you use)
  • What to do if there’s a dispute over the amount of the deposit to be returned at the end of tenancy
  • A guide to tenancy deposit protection (TDP) available on our website

Change of sharers in student tenancies

Typically, with student tenancies, the deposit will be shared between multiple tenants, which can raise concerns if one or more tenants leave during tenancy.

All tenants are jointly and severally responsible for the obligations under the tenancy agreement, so it is often better to terminate the tenancy and start a new one if one tenant leaves. Changing tenant details is straightforward within the TDSNI dashboard. In the custodial scheme the agent/landlord can process a tenant change over, moving one or multiple tenants out and repaying their share of deposit funds. In the insurance scheme the agent/landlord will restart a new insurance protection to reflect the tenancy agreement.

Student Lets During Covid-19

There are additional considerations for student lets due to current requirements surrounding social distancing and hygiene.

You will need to allow extra time for check-ins and check-outs. Normally, students can move in and out the same day, but this may not be possible due to lockdown rules. Currently, you will need to schedule visits around social distancing measures and allow for extra cleaning in line with current Covid-19 guidance.

Cleanliness is of utmost importance at this time, and this may require additional instruction for your student tenants to ensure they meet hygiene standards at all times.

You will also need to consider time delays for overseas students required to quarantine when arriving in the UK. Refer to the latest government guidelines and your local authority or university for the further information.

Tenancy Deposit Scheme has been supporting letting agents with student lets for many years. If you require any further advice, please contact our award-winning customer service team.

Not a member of TDS yet? It’s easy. Register your tenancy deposit today.

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