Union warning after landlords dodge deposits

The Union has warned of landlords who fail to inform students of money taken from their deposits after a letting agency was suspended from the Unipol Code.

A tribunal in June found UK Pads had withdrawn from the deposits of students living on Royal Park Grove, but told them only when it was too late to challenge the deduction.

Unipol requires students to make a complaint about unfair deposit deductions within three months of the tenancy ending, although UK Pads informed students of money taken after the deadline had passed.

The agency also failed to return students’ deposits within 28 days of the end of tenancy.

The Union’s Community Officer, George Bradley told The Gryphon that landlords can ‘unfairly keep parts of student deposits because of the time restrictions to register complaints’.

He added, “We strongly suggest that students request their deposits back immediately after their tenancy ends, and if there’s reasonable cause to challenge any deductions, then do so”.

UK Pads was suspended ‘indefinitely’ from the Unipol Code following two separate complaints about deposit deductions from former tenants.

Director of UK Pads, Hedley Manton argued that the students did not take the opportunity to discuss the deductions: “It is unfortunate that a small minority of tenants who do not follow the correct procedure feel the weight of Unipol will ultimately resolve their predicament by applying pressure on agents and landlords”.

Former tenant of UK Pads Charlotte Warner advised students, ‘If you miss the deadline, your only option will be going to court if the landlord won’t pay up’.

The Gryphon spoke to two students who felt their landlord had deliberately made it difficult for them to appeal:

“They told us, ‘Our landlord knew that the time limit to appeal a payment was three months after the termination of our contract. They were difficult to deal with, meaning constant explanation of our situation was needed each time we spoke to them. They continuously contradicted each other about the amount that would be deducted from our deposits, and had we not finally come to an agreement, we would have been out of time to appeal to our deposit protection scheme’.”

Charlotte Mason

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