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How to stop your landlord messing you around when you move out

A few handy tips and tricks

It is not okay to have your deposit eaten into by a hungry landlord – and you can avoid it, if you really want to. If you work in the rental sector it's well known that the tenant almost always holds the cards. There are mounds of legislation protecting tenant rights.

So why is your landlord breaking the law, being horrible and just generally ripping you off? The honest reason: Students are too lazy to fight back. But you could be getting compensation and even your money back in some cases.

Take pics when you move in

Take photos of everything so you can dispute your inventory. If you keep the photos until the end of the tenancy you can show your landlord who's boss when they try to charge you something when they shouldn't.

Always put up a fight

It is not okay to have mould in your house, so do something about it. Tell your landlord to come round and sort it or threaten to contact the council. Landlords are most definitely scared of the council.

If you don't have an oven, a washing machine, a hob, hot water or all of the above when you move in, alarm bells should ring. There are specific requirements made by the local authority telling your landlord what needs to be in the property. If you end up buying an oven (yes it has happened) take it with you when you leave or sell it on. Keep all the money you possibly can – it's yours after all.

Cling on to that deposit for dear life

It’s not okay to have your deposit taken when you don't deserve it. It is your money and you have the right to dispute it. Your landlord must protect your deposit and tell you in writing 30 days after you pay. If not, you can get up to three times it back in compensation. Look it up. That's next year's trip to Magaluf sorted.

Search for help and advice before you move out

If you contact Brookes Union they will make it their mission to ensure that landlords are held accountable and that tenants aren’t being totally exploited. They recovered thousands and thousands of student money last year and that’s just for the students who have bothered to come forward. Students need to complain and fight back to show these landlords that you aren’t a free cash machine.

And if you're a fresher, be extra careful

Advice to freshers looking for a house: Take it slow. There is no shortage of houses in Oxford, you do not need to camp outside Finders Keepers. Make sure all your prospective housemates are in for the long run – no drop outs please. Get a good landlord, look them up, make enquiries, see what they do. If it’s an agent, check their fees, check everything. Your money is important, so protect yourself. And why not send your tenancy agreement to Brookes Union, they'll read it for you for free!