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Revealed - why many landlords won’t let to students

A study by the Tenancy Deposit Service has identified the main causes of disputes between student tenants and landlords and agents.

The poll highlighted that a large percentage of landlords and agents have had to raise a deposit deduction, with 88 per cent confirming they’ve raised a deduction at end of tenancy.

For those who had made a deposit deduction, the common issues were damage to a property (48 per cent); making a claim for cleaning (38 per cent); deductions for redecorating (nine per cent); and rent arrears (seven per cent).


Despite the high percentage of deposit deductions, 60 per cent of all respondents to the TDS study believed that in general, students took good care of their rental property, a common worry when deciding to rent to students.

Of those polled who did not rent to students, the reasons why they were deterred included the potential for too much damage, preferring to rent to professionals, the need for constant redecorating after students, and the problems caused by too many parties and anti-social behaviour.


“Our results show that the common concerns about renting to students are valid to some extent, with cleaning topping the deposit deduction claims. However, there were no antisocial reasons for disputes, no issues with neighbours, and redecoration claims were in a small percentage” says TDS.

It continues: “Positively, our poll observed that over three-quarters of landlords and agents perform mid-tenancy inspections. TDS encourages property professionals to conduct regular inspections and include them within your tenancy agreement.”

Over half of agents and landlords polled confirmed that they attended the check-in/check-out with the tenants present.  

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    Tried it in the 90s, haven't done so since, and don't miss the students or their parents, give me good honest working people any day of the week

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    I've let to undergrads since 1999 and have had very few problems. The vast majority have treated the houses very well and returned them in excellent condition. Occasionally a parent has been a bit of a pain but it's few and far between especially since GDPR.

    I know it's the first time the students will have lived in unsupervised accommodation and the first few months will be a learning curve. For most of them no one will have ever taught them basic house stuff like what to do if the electric trips. We tend to think of the second year undergrads as trainee adults and hope that by the time they move on after graduation they have learned some useful tenant skills. Such as to email a photo of whatever the problem is and check with Google.


    Exactly the same experience as you. Students every day of the week for me.
    Renters reform Bill could screw the whole thing up though.


    Totally agree.

    Since the SNP banned tenants and landlords from agreeing mutually acceptable fixed term tenancies, I have stopped renting to families and now focus on students. I tend to find most agree to confirm they're leaving at the end of May and give me more than the mandatory 28 days notice which means I can get new tenants lined up for early June who will pay over the summer.

    The nicer the flat the easier this is and getting a slightly lower rent for almost 12 months beats a higher rent for 10 or 11 months.

    Cleaning and refurbishment aren't any bigger issues than with non student tenants.

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    I used to ask the guarantors (parents) to accompany me whenever I undertook routine inspections. Never had a problem as the guarantors were at times, shocked at what they saw and all I had to do is say that unless this was cleaned/tidied/repaired etc, deductions would have to made from the deposits. The guarantors then gave their kids a rollicking for me!! Self-policing!


    That's fine if the parents live anywhere nearby.
    Most of my students seem to live hundreds of miles away so their parents only come at the beginning and the end of tenancies and then grumble to me because the other students have already left ,leaving them to assist their daughter/ son clean up the other's mess, and why didn't I make sure the others pulled their weight!


    I don't even bother with guarantors any more. For the very few problems I've had, the parents soon step in once you mention court.



    You just need to be there when the parents come at the end of the tenancy and ensure that the students know you will be doing an end of tenancy inspection with their parents watching.
    Even under the beds gets cleaned to avoid embarrassing items being unearthed!

    As far as dealing with any mess left by early leavers is concerned I just tell them that the law regards their offspring now as responsible adults entitled to vote, drink, procreate etc. and I am not in loco parentis, whereas all guarantors have freely agreed to joint and several liability and contact details for all guarantors was freely given and recorded on the tenancy agreement, so they should direct their wrath in the correct direction.

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    • S S
    • 01 July 2022 01:18 AM

    The problem i have is with Letting agencies and Landlords who have a business model of charging for damage, cleaning, repainting when the students have returned the house in the same or better condition. One house my son was in received deductions of £1,500 (Corporate LA). Fortunately we had before and after photos which proved that the house had been left cleaner and in a better condition than when the tenancy started! I just said we would go to TDS and the deductions suddenly dropped and only the two students who hadn't hoovered under their bed were charged. The agent even tried to charge for a mark on the wall made by the bed that they supplied.
    In my daughters case, the agent included carpet cleaning for 4 carpets despite there only being 2 rooms with carpets! and full replacement of a £10 shower curtain, that was NOT NEW when they moved in...another situation where I had to threaten to take to TDS and the deductions were recalculated. In this instance, they had received the keys for the property 6 weeks before the end of the tenancy and on inspection 6 weeks later tried to charge for dust!
    Unfortunately many corporate letting agencies just see students and their parents as easy "deduction" money and work on the basis that each student can afford to lose a few hundred in cleaning or damage or redecoration despite the fact that in some places the students have paid collectively £30k to rent a 4 bedroomed house. There will be a level of wear and tear but the reward for the LL income is more than they would get if they rented their 3 bed house to a family rather than 5 students. They can't have it all.


    I give outgoing and incoming student tenants a detailed check list and tend to find this ensures a reasonable degree of cleaning, tidying up and disposal of refuse. I expect a bit of redecorating, even after only a year, and have never deducted anything from the deposit, although I don't let the tenants know that.

    I find most student landlords do the same but I do know letting agents tend to be stricter to justify their fees, which is why I do my own inspections. Inventory management is also a waste of money and avoiding its cost too lets me be more flexible with broken or missing items.


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