What to do when moving out, and how to get your deposit back.
The information below is for students who have been renting off campus. If you've been living on campus, the University has a guide to moving out of their accommodation that you can read through.
What do I need to do when moving out?
You are jointly responsible for the condition of any communal areas and if you are in a joint tenancy (rather than individual tenancies) you are also jointly liable for the condition of the whole property.
You should leave the property in the same condition as when you moved in. Make sure you clean the property thoroughly, remove all your belongings and empty the bins - your landlord can take money from your deposit to cover reasonable costs for cleaning, replacing broken items, and for removing items.
Take plenty of photos of the property to show you left the house in a good, clean condition. If you paid for any service or bought any products to help you leave the house in good condition, keep the receipts as proof.
If you're responsible for bills, contact the utility companies to let them know the final date of your tenancy. Read the meters on the final day (and keep a record), tell the company to close your account and get the final bill sent on to your forwarding address. Send proof of paying final bills to the landlord, as some won't return your deposit unless they have this proof.
Make sure you return your keys and follow any check out procedures outlined in your tenancy agreement.
Council Tax - don't get caught out!
If you're a final year student, you will start being liable for council tax from the date your course ends (this will be before your graduation ceremony).
You will then remain liable for council tax until the end of your tenancy, even if you move out early. This could mean you are liable for council tax in this area starting from early July until around August-September, depending on the official end date of your course and tenancy. It is your responsibility to contact the council to tell them you're moving out and make sure you pay any council tax you are liable for, as costs can escalate quickly if you don't pay.
What can I do with items I don't want anymore?
There may be some items that you have bought but don’t want to take with you when you leave Keele. You may choose to give some items to friends, donate them to charity, or sell them. Below are some of the different ways you can sell or donate any unwanted items:
- The Great Donate has donation points around campus to help you give your unwanted goods to charity or for recycling.
- You can advertise your items on eBay
- You can advertise on Facebook marketplace
- You may want to donate items to a local charity
- ‘The Emmaus Furniture Mine’ collects unwanted furniture and white goods and passes them on to people in the community who are on benefits or low incomes.
What can I do if my landlord isn't returning my deposit, or wants to make deductions I don't agree with?
Shelter has great, easy to read information about deposits on their website, but we have summarised the main information below.
Most private landlords must register your deposit with a deposit protection scheme and send you information about the scheme within 30 days. This is a law created to make sure landlords don’t unfairly keep your money. After protecting the deposit, the landlord must also send you details of the deposit protection scheme they have used.
**Note that if you're sharing a house with your landlord then you are a lodger and your deposit cannot be protected. However, if you're living with the family member of your landlord then in most circumstances the deposit should still be protected.**
If your landlord isn't returning your deposit or wants to make unfair deductions, you can use the deposit protection scheme's dispute resolution service. Don’t wait too long - you can only use the scheme for 3 months after your tenancy ends.
What can I do if my deposit wasn't protected?
If your landlord was legally required to protect your deposit and failed to do so, you could take them to court to claim 1-3 times the worth of your deposit. This could be useful to use against your landlord, as they may be willing to pay you back the deposit in exchange for you not taking court action.
Shelter has some template letters you can use when writing to your landlord.
If you're not sure whether it is protected, contact each of the schemes to see if it's registered with them - note that, even if it is registered, you can still take the landlord to court for failing to give you information about the scheme.You can find information about the schemes at these links:
If your landlord is accredited with the local councils' Landlord Accreditation Scheme, you can also report them to the scheme for investigation. They may suspend the landlord's membership and this would restrict their ability to advertise to students.
What can I do if I was a lodger and the landlord didn't need to protect my deposit?
You can write formal letters to the landlord requesting the return of your deposit and, ultimately, you may want to consider legal action to get it back.
Shelter has some template letters you can use.