Students must swot up on deposit legislation

The legal obligation means that the money is kept safe and ensures that if there is a dispute over whether the deposit should be returned then students will have a means of independent redress.

The Deposit Protection Service is the only Government-accredited scheme to physically hold onto a deposit on behalf of landlords and tenants.

Kevin Firth, director of The DPS, said: “Most of us have happy memories of moving into our first independent home during our student days.

“We want to make sure students can get the most out of their time at university – and that means making sure that they are aware of their landlord’s obligations.

“With The DPS the days of keeping a deposit in a landlord’s back pocket are over, and students should be able to sleep easy knowing that their deposits are safe – not that sleeping has ever been a problem for students!”

Emma Orgar, 19, studies English and Media at Plymouth University. She moved into a rented property this summer with seven other second year students.

She said: “We repeatedly asked our letting agent for written details of the scheme that our deposits were protected with. But initially whenever we brought this up we were fobbed off.

“Because we’re young, they must think we are na├»ve and don’t know about the law. They’re wrong. I would encourage all students to check their landlords are registered with an approved tenancy deposit scheme and only use a landlord who is”.

“My friends and I want to know that our money is safe and protected so it makes sense to check, but just because you are a student you shouldn’t be messed around. Our bad experience should be a warning to others.”

Three simple steps:

– Before signing the tenancy agreement make sure it refers to how the deposit will be protected
– Before handing over money insist on written proof that the landlord belongs to a deposit protection scheme
– Make your landlord aware that you will be expecting a written receipt from the scheme within three weeks of handing over the deposit

For more information on how to make sure that your deposit is properly protected visit http://www.depositprotection.com/.