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Advice please re student rent and the Deposit Protection Scheme

(15 Posts)
EastMids2 Sun 05-Jan-14 10:15:33

I've been advised to come over here from the Chat section - student DD is in a shared rental house. She's been friends with 2 of the others for a couple of years and they joined forces to rent a five-bed house in September 2013. The landlord has recently moved in two other people (older and from different culture, very little English or communication - but that's another story!).

My query is that I have only just seen a copy of the lease DD/friends signed and there is no mention (as with her previous leases) of deposit paid being protected by the DPS. This is a private rental, not connected with any university accommodation listings.

Is the landlord legally obliged to register with DPS? The way things are going - despite the 3 friends being clean/tidy/no damage caused - the landlord is already wittering on about marks here and there, and I fear he will be reluctant to return any deposit.

All three students have had 100% deposit returned from their various rentals since 2010 but this time it feels a bit "dodgy".

aturtlenamedmack Sun 05-Jan-14 10:25:53

I'm just marking my place, dp is a housing advisor at a uni and I'll show him your op once he's up.

jamtoast12 Sun 05-Jan-14 10:32:55

Yes they do have to register with dps even if private. As for moving in foreign students etc, they can do as they please as students have a contract to rent the room, not the house usually so the landlord can fill as they please.

EastMids2 Sun 05-Jan-14 10:47:30

Thanks Turtle, would appreciate your dp's viewpoint later on.

Jam, again I appreciate knowing that landlord should have registered with DPS. My comment about the two later tenants was really only added to illustrate that DD/friends hadn't felt able to ask if these people also had contracts without mention of DPS.

If landlord is at fault, how do you suggest DD/friends tackle this? He's turned out not so "nice" as when his daughter - working in the family property business - showed students round the house and gave out contracts for signature!

specialsubject Sun 05-Jan-14 11:01:15

they need to make a request in writing for the details of how their deposit is protected. (surprised they moved in without checking this)

it is a business transaction and they need to ask, politely but firmly. It's not the landlord's job to be 'nice', although of course he should not be abusive.

he also needs to keep to the law. If the deposit isn't protected they can sue him for 3 x its value, although of course they will be finding another place to live if they do that.

BTW does this place have gas? Is there a current gas safe certificate?

aturtlenamedmack Sun 05-Jan-14 11:09:32

Dp says - in most cases it is a legal requirement that the deposit is protected.
If the landlord has moved 2 people in as a separate group it might give them specific rights and responsibilities and they should get their contract checked by a professional advisor - their university will almost certainly provide this service.
You can check directly with the 3 agencies if the deposit is protected.
If they're concerned that the landlord may charge them for damage that they haven't caused then they need to take pics of the whole property at the start and end of the contract. If they didn't at the start then get them to do it now.
It's very important that your contract is seen by a professional advisor as it's hard to give accurate advice without seeing the contract.

aturtlenamedmack Sun 05-Jan-14 11:10:37

Sorry - the 3 agencies refers to the 3 agencies that currently provide a dps.

EastMids2 Sun 05-Jan-14 11:26:51

SpecialSubject - yes I was a bit ??? to find they hadn't checked re DPS and can only think they mistakenly assumed that as their previous years' landlords had all been so good, this was the case here. Wrong! Will also suggest they ask for copies of the gas/elec safety certificates.

Sorry Turtle, but what exactly are the 3 agencies you refer to? Can you just make contact with them and ask if Mr xxx, the landlord of xxx property is registering student deposits with you?

specialsubject Sun 05-Jan-14 11:30:40

they MUST have a current gas safe certificate, to do otherwise means the landlord is breaking the law. And that the place may be unsafe. The gas safe certificate is a legal requirement for any rental property that has gas appliances, end of.

if the place is a house in multiple occupation, then there must also be an electrical safety certificate. It isn't a legal requirement otherwise (although it is good practice for landlords to have the place checked).

all good life lessons for them, don't helicopter too much.

EastMids2 Sun 05-Jan-14 11:41:00

smile Specialsubject - I'm trying not to be that dreaded helicopter parent really I am (only child of older parent whose dad died when she was 10 and she had serious heart problems, makes it a little harder, but I am getting there!). My own upbringing was rather "cold" so I've probably over-compensated but am at least aware of my shortcomings and MN opinions help keep me grounded!

aturtlenamedmack Sun 05-Jan-14 12:17:10

There are links to all of the government backed schemes on this page along with further advice.
You check yourself, don't rely on the landlord.
Please seek professional advice too, you're dd's university union will have an advice service who can look at her contract and help.
It's not as cut and dry as it might seem, the contract needs to be checked.
Also most universities provide a contract checking service before the contracts are signed which is invaluable and should be made use of by everyone!
Unfortunately there are many unscrupulous landlords out there who are waiting to take advantage of young and inexperienced people.

aturtlenamedmack Sun 05-Jan-14 12:18:12

Oops, can't do clicky link for some reason.

EastMids2 Sun 05-Jan-14 12:32:49

Turtle - will get DD to check out via links. Thanks very much to you and dp.

aturtlenamedmack Sun 05-Jan-14 12:44:51

No worries.
Get her to look at her students union website for their advice service. If they don't have one they will be able to direct her to the best one in the area.

specialsubject Sun 05-Jan-14 17:49:09

no offence meant and I hope none taken OP - advise by all means but make it clear that THEY are the ones who have to make the enquiries and take control.

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