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A new campaign in Scotland has been launched to help students protect their accommodation deposit.

SafeDeposits Scotland, the leading tenancy deposit protection scheme, has teamed up with the National Union of Students Scotland (NUS) to launch the campaign - ‘It’s your money – keep it SAFE.’ The campaign offers essential advice on making sure students know what their and their landlord’s rights and responsibilities are.

The campaign ties in with students going back to college or university for the new academic year.

As part of the campaign, SafeDeposits Scotland and the NUS Scotland have produced a leaflet for students, colleges and universities across Scotland. The leaflet contains four top tips, which spell out SAFE, for students to live by to make sure the deposit process goes smoothly:

- Study the small print. With study books already piling up, we know the last thing you want is even more reading but it’s essential you know what your lease says. The part to pay closest attention to are the reasons why you might lose your deposit – if you keep these in mind during your stay, you’re more likely to get your full deposit back when you move out.

- Amend your inventory where necessary. It’s all in the detail! Make sure your inventory is accurate. Note or take photos of any items that were already worn, marked or damaged by previous tenants. In the excitement of moving in, a scuff on the wall or a light broken by the last tenant might not seem important – but if it’s not recorded in the inventory it could end up costing you money. Make sure both you and your landlord sign and date the inventory and keep a copy each.

- File all communication between you and your landlord – and get it signed! If your landlord agrees to you repainting the hallway or throwing out a piece of furniture, get this agreement in writing – and make sure it’s signed and dated by the landlord or agent. When it’s time to repay the deposit, this proof will show you had permission to make changes to the property or its contents.

- Ensure a deposit scheme is in place. When a landlord or letting agent takes a deposit from you, they must transfer the money to a tenancy deposit scheme. The scheme offers a free and independent service to settle disputes between you and your landlord if you disagree on the return of the deposit after you move out. If you pay a deposit and your landlord doesn’t transfer it, you’re able to contact the Sheriff Court, who can order the landlord to pay you up to three times the amount of the deposit.

SafeDeposits Scotland (@safedeposits) and the NUS Scotland (@nusScotland) are also using social media to get the word out about keeping deposits safe. They have produced Ten Top Unbreakable Tips for surviving college or university and are asking students to share their tips through Facebook and Twitter using #unbreakabletips. The guide can be downloaded here.

Jennifer Paice, Chief Executive of SafeDeposits Scotland, said: “We want this campaign to raise awareness among students, particularly those renting a flat for the first time, or who are taking up a new tenancy. It can be quite daunting moving into a flat so these tips will help students through the process and understand what both they and their landlords need to do when it comes to deposits and the tenancy agreement.

She added: “One of the most important things is making sure their landlord is signed up with a tenancy deposit scheme like SafeDeposits Scotland so their deposit is kept safe. It also means if there are any disputes over returning the deposit then we can step in and help settle it.”

Gordon Maloney, President of NUS Scotland, said: “Moving in to a new flat and living with friends is a fun part of student life. But it’s important that in amongst the excitement, students know what rights and responsibilities they have around their deposit.”

He added: “The tips we have worked on with SafeDeposits Scotland are simple to follow and will make any tenancy much easier and stress free.”




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