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Economy

£32 Million Lost By Students In Rental Deposits When They Leave Accommodation

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house manchester by Alex Pepperhill via Flickr

New research from independent comparison website money.co.uk has revealed that landlords keep the deposit of four out of ten students (38%) almost a third (29%) when they leave private rented accommodation.

Our research reveals this will be a total loss of £32 million for the 196,766  students affected. The research also highlights a wider issue where four out of five students (79%) are not signing a photo inventory when they move in. This means they have very little evidence of the ‘before and after’ condition of the property when it comes to moving out. Our research found that over half of students (53%) polled felt that getting their whole deposit back would have been easier if they had signed an inventory.

To put this in context, there are over half a million (520,545) students in private rented accommodation paying an average deposit of £572 each year. In total, there is almost £300 million worth of student deposits taken each year by landlords. It’s a lot of money the table when it comes to moving out.

So why are landlords keeping the money?

· For more than half (52%) it’s simply down to cleaning – the landlords didn’t feel the property was cleaned to a high enough standard to warrant a full deposit return.

· Damage to fixtures and fittings was also the reason cited for almost a quarter (24%) of students who didn’t get their full deposit back.

· Excessive wear and tear (22%) was also an issue for over a fifth (22%). Just 5% cited unpaid bills as a reason.

What about deposit protection schemes?

One in four students said they did not receive details of the protection scheme their deposit was secured with from their landlord and a further one in ten claim their landlord didn’t protect their money. Knowing where your deposit is protected is key when it comes to moving out as the schemes can act as third party mediators in the event of a dispute. Students must take control and ask their landlord which deposit protection scheme their money will be secured with – this applies to both new and existing tenants. Landlords are legally obliged to give you copy of the paperwork.

What is deposit protection?

It is mandatory for all private landlords to protect deposits for assured shorthold tenancies via a government backed tenancy deposit scheme within 30 days of receipt[3]. They must also give tenants prescribed information about where their deposit is protected, who they are renting from and how they raise a dispute. The schemes give landlords and tenants access to a free dispute resolution service if things go wrong when the tenant moves out, eliminating the need for court action in many cases.

Despite two thirds of students claiming the deposit withheld by their landlord was unfair, just 15% disputed the decision and managed to get some of their money back. A further one in five took action but didn’t get another penny.

Hannah Maundrell, Editor in Chief money.co.uk comments; “This will be the first time many students have rented their own place. There are so many things to think about but making sure your deposit is protected is key so you’re not left out of pocket when you move out. Landlords are not the enemy –students must make sure they keep the property in a decent state so there’s no reason for their landlord to keep their cash – this is money they’ll be relying on getting back.

“With over half a million students in private rented accommodation the scope for problems is huge. Without signing a photo inventory you run the risk of losing money every time you move out as it’s your word against your landlord’s if things go wrong. Student debt is already colossal and forfeiting your deposit is an unnecessary loss at the end of the year.”

Hannah’s ten hot tips – how students can make sure they don’t lose their deposit when they move out:

1. Photo inventories are crucial. Without this ‘before and after’ evidence it’s your word against the landlord’s if things go wrong. It’s really worth taking the time to do this as soon as you move in – or before if you can. Print off an inventory checklist, note down and photograph any damage you find then report it to your landlord.

2. Cleaning is a must. Make a pact with your housemates to put the hoover round and wipe down the kitchen and bathroom every other week at least. If a professional clean is written into your contract find out if you’re tied to a particular company, why and what they cost. If it’s not it could still be cheaper in the long run to get a professional company to do this before you move out to avoid losing your deposit.

3. Carpet and oven cleaning. If the carpets and ovens need to be professionally cleaned when you move out you should check if it was done before you moved in. Don’t be afraid to negotiate with your landlord.

4. Go through your contract with a fine tooth comb. Query anything that’s open to misinterpretation or seems unreasonable. Getting clarity will benefit your landlord too.

5. Know your rights. Your landlord must protect your deposit with a registered scheme within 30 days of receiving all or part of it and give you confirmation. You can take legal action if your landlords refuses to protect your deposit.

6. You can check if your deposit has been protected. Visit the relevant deposit scheme website or use the Shelter website to check all three schemes in England and Wales. You will need to provide your postcode, tenancy start date and deposit amount.

7. As an aside: find out when the boiler, fire alarms and electrics were last tested (ask to see certificates) and make sure bills from previous tenants are settled so you aren’t saddled with their debt.

8. Landlords are not the enemy. The majority want you to enjoy living in their property so they have a hassle free life. Maintaining a positive relationship is often the best way to get problems resolved quickly and painlessly.

9. Play your part as a responsible and respectful tenant. Pay your rent and household bills on time, clean your home on a regular basis (ants and mice aren’t fun for anyone), remember to put the bins out and don’t annoy the neighbours!

10. We have created a useful guide for students (and their parents) that are heading off to university this Autumn – it gives you more information on how to minimise the chance you’ll lose money when you move out of your rental property.

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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