Avoiding Unfair Deposit Deductions

Moving out of private accommodation soon? Our Advisors are on hand to give you all the guidance you need to ensure you're not unfairly charged when it comes to getting your deposit back.

With your tenancy coming to a close, you are probably rejoicing in the idea of getting your deposit back.

Before you go making plans for that deposit though, we want to warn you that the overwhelming majority of students lose most of their deposit to unfair deposit deductions. These deductions usually come in the form of over-inflated cleaning/repair costs, or other costs the landlord should be covering. Agents/landlords then refuse to return the deposit until students agree to these unfair charges.

The other main issue we have seen is that agents/landlords ignore students’ communications and make the process of getting your deposit back so hard, that many people give up - international students are particularly affected by this.

You should ask for your deposit back in writing (text/email is OK) the day you move out of your property and can expect to hear back within ten days. If you haven't heard anything then ask us for help - we love helping students get their money back!

Now for the good news…

Last year, 100% of students who followed guidance from the Advice Centre got their deposits back with no unfair deductions. After we got involved, most cases ended up having no deductions at all or having the deductions reduced to more than half the original proposal. We don’t have the capacity to organise a Joe Lycett-style rave outside dodgy estate agents, but we do have lawyers who’ve got your back!

How do they do it?

SU Advisors spend much of the summer months dealing with deposit disputes, so they have gained lots of experience and are now familiar with dodgy landlords/agents and their unethical tactics. Agents/landlords often improve their behaviour as soon as they know students are being helped by us. 

Our Advisors have also been trained up by solicitors and AdviceUK and therefore know the legislation around private renting that will protect you, as well as having good connections with regulators that can make agents/landlords do the right thing. If your case is complex, then they can refer you to solicitors for free legal advice.

How do I get my deposit back?

Everything you need to know is in our Private Housing Leaving Guide - you’ve got this! If you find it overwhelming or confusing, then we've got you!

Throughout term-time, our Advice Centre runs Zoom drop-in sessions every Tuesday and Thursday and in-person drop-ins every Wednesday so you can fire away with any worries or concerns. You can pop in alone or with a friend and get the information you need from our advisors. Check out our Events calendar for all the details.

The Advice Centre is a free, independent and confidential service for all students here at Royal Holloway. Our friendly, experienced and professional staff will provide a listening ear and offer general and specialist advice. We’re here to support you with a whole range of issues, big and small, and if we’re not the best people to help you with a particular issue, we’ll point you in the right direction.

Email us at advice@su.rhul.ac.uk with any questions or to ask for a phone appointment.