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Advice for Students: How to Get Your Full Tenancy Deposit Back

Advice for Students: How to Get Your Full Tenancy Deposit Back

The last thing you want after renting a property is to lose your deposit and not understand why. It’s well known that students can often be susceptible to losing their deposits and landlords often have the misconception that all students have messy houses from endless parties and gatherings. This isn’t always true. Hopefully this  guide will help you tackle any problems with getting back your deposit.

Ensure your deposit is protected

Before you move in, ensure your landlord has protected your deposit using a government-backed scheme. You’d be surprised by the amount of landlord scams that are are regularly pulled on unsuspecting 20-something year-old’s, so make sure you check online to see if your deposit is protected. If your landlord hasn’t protected it, you can go to the small claims court to reclaim it PLUS you can receive up to three times the original value as a penalty for the landlord (then you can finally start paying off your student loan).

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Pick the right accommodation

There’s that saying: “the prevention is better than the cure”; one of the best ways to ensure you don’t get burnt when leaving a rented property is choosing the right one to begin with. Make sure you do your research before you sign anything; do some stealth Googling about the company, make sure they’re reputable; check with past tenants about what they’re like to rent with – no one will be more honest than people that once lived in a property and rented through the company you are considering renting through.

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What is a tenancy agreement?

A tenancy agreement is a contract between you and your landlord. It specifies the legal terms and conditions for your tenancy, and states the certain rights for you and the landlord; letting you live in the property as long as you pay the rent and follow the rules. The tenancy can be fixed-term or periodic. For students, fixed-term is the most common, but periodic is also available which runs on a week-by-week or month-by-month basis. Ensure you follow the set rules of the tenancy agreement to receive your deposit back.

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Tips on getting your deposit back

  • Clean! I hate to sound patronizing, but it’s honestly the most simple solution. Pick up your washing up gloves and tackle the moldy takeaway remnants and sticky red wine spillages. Aim to make it look identical to how it looked when you moved in.
  • Your Camera is Your Weapon. Take photos when you leave the house to ensure you’ve got visual evidence just in case you need to dispute charges.
  • Invest in a Tester Pot of Paint. It’s hard to resist putting up pictures and posters to make things more homely. But when it comes to moving out, the blu tack or sellotape marks that remain can end up costing you a lot. If you buy a small pot of paint that matches your wall colour, you can take it into your own hands by splashing on a few neat blobs of paint to cover the damage.
  • Check the Contract. This may sound very boring, but it could end up saving you a good sum of money. Ensure that you’ve read everything so they can’t charge you for something you’ve simply forgotten to do.
  • Grab a Friend. Drag someone round to help you spot any missed areas of dirt or mess. As you’ve lived there for over a year it can be easy to get used to the mold on the bathroom wall or constant crumbs on the kitchen floor, but these probably weren’t here when you moved in. A fresh pair of eyes can help you spot these trouble areas.

Inspection time—what is the landlord on the lookout for?

Sometimes you have to pity your landlord; you’re probably one of the good tenants – having your deposit unjustly withheld. However sometimes tenants can leave houses in truly disgraceful conditions, and landlords leaving homes in disrepair because they can’t afford to fix them, is actually one of the leading causes of empty homes in Britain. You don’t want to be a part of that problem.

Focus on cleaning the fixtures: bathroom cabinets, kitchen cupboards and units, built in desks, etc. These are harder for landlords to replace so it is important to ensure they’re in good condition. Whether it’s carpet or wood floors, make sure there are no obvious stains, dents, scratches, rips or burns on the floor. If there are marks on the floor, often these can be easily covered up with a cheap stain remover like Vanish. As previously mentioned, add a dash of paint over any markings on the wall to ensure you don’t get charged for a whole wall of painting by the landlord.

Featured photo credit: infoetudes via infoetudes.com

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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