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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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Published on September 17, 2018

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

2. When you want something big, wait

Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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So, you get the itch.

You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

Here’s where you have to take a step back.

Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

3. Live smaller than you can afford

You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

4. Practice smart grocery shopping

Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

Create a grocery budget

Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

Make a list… and never deviate

Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

Eat before going grocery shopping

It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

5. Cancel your gym membership

Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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