Student Blog

The Zen of deposits

The Zen of deposits

Answering students’ frequently asked questions about deposits

If you’re like me, you’ll find getting stressed incredibly stressful. And deposits are one of those subjects that can make people’s blood boil and steam shoot out of their ears.

Here’s a quick guide to keeping the stress out of the process and make sure it’s fair, calm and easy as possible!

Why do you ask for deposits?

As well as our commitment to making sure your stay as a Purple Frog tenant is as fun and carefree as possible, we make a similar promise to the landlords who work with us. They want to make sure that they’re not having to foot the bill for any damages or extra cleaning. Meanwhile tenants want their deposits back.

It’s our job to ensure that a fair outcome is reached for everyone. We put a huge amount of time and energy into achieving this.

Here’s an overview of how:

How can I keep my deposit?

As a tenant, you will get a handbook when you move in. This is your user’s guide to everything you need to know about living in one of our properties. From how to report maintenance issues to paying your rent and, yes, tips on how to keep your deposit.

We used to give out print copies, but we realise that after a month, you might never see that again. You can now find all of this information online, including our guide on How to Keep your Deposit.

What happens when I move out?

This checklist is an incredibly useful document, which you can download from the website. Not only does it give you a tick list of things to do when it’s time to leave, it also gives detailed information on:

• Documents you’ll need to provide for your deposit return
• Contact details for our deposits team (deposits@purplefrogproperty.com)
• Details of the type of charges that might be applied, and the cost of each
• How to book a preliminary inspection, so we can give you advice on cleaning etc

Here’s where to download the moving out check list.

What might I get charged for?

The main reasons for charges are for cleaning or damage. The charges we apply correspond to the amount of money that we pay for cleaners and maintenance people to visit the property. (You’ll find the charges in the moving out check list.)

Is your idea of clean the same as mine?

What is clean? My dad and I would regularly fall out because one of my chores as a child was to polish his shoes. It soon became clear that, after hours of me sweating away with a buffing cloth, his idea of shiny and mine were very different.

But we don’t expect you to have to mind-read as to what we think clean is.

You can speak to your local branch to book a pre-final-inspection-inspection with one of the Purple Frog team. We’ll help you identify where you might get charged. This will give you time to sort out any issues and avoid that charge.

When it’s time to clean, we will also give you some free magic sponges, to make any marks on walls vanish.

Sometimes thinks break. That’s okay. We know that. But, if you don’t report it, we won’t know about it until we do a final inspection. That means it will be listed as a charge.

Please report maintenance issues when they happen. We don’t want you living with busted stuff and we don’t want to take the cost of repairs out of your deposit.

How do I know charges are fair?

When you leave, we insist on having face-to-face inspections, at the property. We do this inspection on the last day of your tenancy and ask that a tenant be present when we do it. This means that you have an opportunity to discuss any charges with us. The inspection teams have also been known to break out their dusters to help you with minor cleaning, if they can help you avoid a cleaning charge.

If you book ahead, we’ll organise for a cleaner to visit your house before you move out. You’ll have to tell us you want us to arrange this, at least three weeks in advance. You’ll also have to pay for this cleaning. if this sounds like a good idea, speak to one of the team in your local branch about it.

How long do I have to wait for my deposit to be returned?

We aim to return deposits to tenants as soon as possible, after the end of their tenancies but the longest you will have to wait is 28 days for us to send you your deposit statement. (Once we’ve had all the info we need from you – see below.)

Your deposit statement may include a final list of deduction that we will need to take from the final sum to cover things like cleaning .

If you are happy with the statement, you can ask for your deposit to be released.

Once you get your statement, there may be charges that you don’t agree with. if this is the case, you are welcome to dispute them. There’s information on how to do this, below.

Doesn’t the Government say 10 days?

Yes and no. That 10-day deadline is for after we have agreed with you the final amount to return. It starts ticking down once you have said you are happy with the sum to be returned.

If you have disputed a deduction, this might mean there’s a delay in agreeing the final amount. But once you’ve said yes to the final sum, we have 10-days from then to make sure the money’s sent.

There’s an explanation on the Government website, here: https://www.gov.uk/tenancy-deposit-protection.

What information do I need to provide?

You will need to provide proof that your utilities are all paid up to the date your tenancy ended. As well as that there is no council tax owed. (As a student, you don’t have to pay council tax, but you still need evidence from the the council.)  You need to provide all of this information BEFORE we will process your deposit.

The two main main reasons for delays in getting your deposit sorted are utility bills and council tax.  There’s advice on utilities, in the tenant handbook. You can find information about your local council office and dealing with council tax – including contact details – on our council tax advice page.

When you return your proof, you will need to make sure that it covers the whole of your tenancy, right up to the very end. If there are gaps, even for a day, we won’t be able to accept it.

We ask for this proof to make sure that future tenants don’t get hassled by debt collectors.

You can send your meter reading to us, using the form on the website.

Obviously, if you live in a property where the rent is included in the bills, you don’t need to provide utility bills.

You’ve charged me for what? I need to dispute a charge!

When we return deposits to tenants, we will provide you with a detailed statement of any charges and invite you to respond, if you think anything is incorrect.

Sometimes things are missed in the check-out inspection, so sometimes additional charges need to be added. The statement will give you details of these, so you can see we’re not trying to add a ‘deposit tax’ to you. Again, our charges only reflect the cost of any maintenance or cleaning that we need to apply to the property.

If you think we’re wrong and that these charges are not fair, you are welcome to dispute them. We’ll have a different person within Purple Frog investigate and respond within 5 working days.

There is more information about disputing deductions on our website. This includes a section where you can register your dispute. Please only do this once you’ve received your statement, as without that document you won’t know what your final charges are.

Once you have sent us your dispute, we aim to reply to you by five working days.

If we are still unable to reach an agreement over a dispute, then it will be sent to the independent arbitration service from the relevant Deposit Protection Scheme.

Quick tip: if you are disputing any charges, we ask you to provide any evidence that you think might be useful. The best way to ensure you have this is to take plenty of time-stamped photos of your property when you arrive. Then take more when you leave. Make sure you include things like marks on walls or damage that is there when you move in.

We look after hundreds of properties and might not be familiar with all the details of your property. Having this evidence will be really helpful to make sure we can remove any deductions that we’ve added in error.

Who’s holding my deposit money?

Your deposit is held by a deposit protection scheme. We use two: the Deposit Protection Service and My Deposits. That means that your deposit money is kept safe and can only be accessed by you, once your deposit has been released. This is a legal requirement.

Hopefully this will help explain the deposit process and help you keep on top of everything you need to do and everything that Purple Frog will do to help you make sure you can keep your deposit.

If you need advice, you can speak to our deposits team at deposits@purplefrogproperty.com. They’re here to help you!

You don’t have to remember all of this either, we’ll send reminders throughout the year, in good time for you to prepare. Look out for them: we do this by email and text.

Plus, you’ll have this blog to refer to as well!

Need to know more?

We’ve collected the most commonly asked questions about deposit returns on to a single page. We’ve then answered them all. If things aren’t clear about your deposit, check the page!

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