Research reveals where students in Scotland do less damage to rented properties


Some landlords can be reluctant to let their properties to students, especially with recent headlines showing the mess that some leave behind, seemingly not bothered about losing their deposit.

New research shows the universities in Scotland where students are well behaved in terms of looking after the homes they rent and where they are less than exemplary.

Based on deposit deductions, the research from SafeDeposits Scotland reveals that students attending the University of Abertay in Dundee are the most responsible, while students in Glasgow tend to leave their rented accommodation clean and tidy.

Overall some 55% of all student tenants were incurring avoidable deductions on their tenancy deposits but the reasons for losing deposits varied around the country. In the last year the average deduction from students at the University of St Andrews was £262.80 while at the other end of the scale, students from the University of Abertay had an average deduction of just £45.

Students renting in Glasgow came out on top in Scotland when it comes to getting the property spotless for the next tenant, with only 28% of deductions made for cleaning charges. While students in Stirling have been revealed as the messiest with 45% of deductions being sought from deposits for cleaning, the highest proportion in the country.

With no deductions made in relation to the upkeep of gardens, students renting in Stirling appear to be the most green fingered and at the other end of the scale, in Aberdeen 2% of deductions were taken from students for gardening costs

Although St Andrews students had the highest average deduction, when you look at damage to properties, they came out the most responsible with only 10% of deposits seeing a deduction due to damage. This can entail anything from broken furniture to ring marks on coffee tables. Conversely, Stirling students were ranked worst in the country with 21% of deductions made from deposits due to damage.

Students in Dundee are most likely to make changes that would result in the landlords having to redecorate, with 12% of deductions incurred for redecoration. While only 3% of students in Aberdeen suffered deductions for redecoration costs, the lowest in the country.

The findings were made using SafeDeposits Scotland’s data on tenancy deposit deductions. The research used tenants with university email addresses registered against their name on the deposit account.

In the last year, SafeDeposits Scotland saw £1.8million of deposits being returned to student tenants. However, it was necessary for £345,754 to be retained from students’ deposits by landlords. As SafeDeposits Scotland holds around 60% of the market share in Scotland, the organisation estimates that a total of £576,260 is lost annually by students through not looking after their rental properties.

‘It’s interesting to see the reasons for landlords across the country making deductions and gaining an insight into how students live. Some simple changes can avoid considerable deductions, putting their money back in their pockets,’ said Victoria Smith, chief operating officer at SafeDeposits Scotland.

‘With the end of term upon us with a summer of travelling or work awaiting, deposits might be the last thing on students’ minds but in theory, students should have their full deposit returned if they look after the property and return it in the same state that they found it,’ she explained.

The research also found that the number of tenancies that run smoothly, with the full deposit returned was just under half at 45%, indicating that many students are aware of the requirements within their tenancy agreement.

‘For the remaining 55%, the nature of student life or lack of knowledge that comes with leaving home for the first time means that avoidable deductions are incurred at the end of the lease. If tenants expect their deposit back in full, they have access to SafeDeposits Scotland’s independent adjudication service to find an amicable resolution,’ she added.


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