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Want to actually get your deposit back? Here’s how…

It all starts now

Moving into a new flat is exciting. Maybe you're out of halls for the first time, or maybe you finally have the massive bedroom you always deserved. All that excitement means students forget one thing: the first few weeks of a new flat are crucial to ensure that at the end of the year, you get your deposit back. Deposit schemes are in no way meant to benefit students, so here are some top tips for ensuring a return on your hard earned money.

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Don't get distracted by wholesome flat breakfasts!

Take all the photos

This first tip may seem obvious, but that's because it's SO important. When you move in, take pictures of absolutely everything. Chip in the paint from Blu Tack? Take a photo. Tear in the carpet? Take a photo. This way when you move out, your landlord can't try and charge you for things he or she didn't bother to fix before you even moved in.

Even if it's week three of uni and you're still finding things that are out of place, continue to take photos. Just shoot your letting agency a friendly email telling them you found something new. The more you have on record, the better.

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Take photos of everything, even Blu Tack stains

Communication is key

On a similar note, stay in constant contact with your landlord. Don't wait to bring things up! Have a leaking kitchen tap but can't be bothered to have it fixed? Tell your landlord anyway. This saves them trying to pin it on you at the end of the year.

The same goes if you need to replace anything. If you decided to get a new shower curtain or toaster, don’t wait till the end of your lease to tell your landlord. They'll charge you for it. Email ahead of time, and get written proof that it's not your responsibility.

Emails over phone calls

Given how often you'll be talking to your landlord, keep in mind that phone calls are hard to put on record. Try to email whenever you can and if you talk on the phone, send a follow-up email. Written records are crucial for backing you up at the end of the year.

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Use your email!

Clean, clean, clean!

The biggest reason for deposit loss is cleaning purposes. This is why it's so important to clean as you go, especially with items you wouldn't normally look at.

Georgia, a third year English Literature student said: 'When we moved out last spring, our landlords tried to charge us £225 just because our skirting boards were dirty."

This same idea goes for windows and hard to reach places, like behind the fridge. A monthly clean may sound like a hassle, but trust me, it's worth it. And at the end of the year take pictures of your beautifully clean flat!

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Those big Marchmont windows can be hard to keep clean.

A final tip is this: don't be afraid to push back! Landlords try to get money any way they can with students because they don’t expect us to know our rights. Many students have pushed their landlords to charge them less money, and it actually worked. Georgia agrees: "After I sent our landlords a grumpy email, I got our charges reduced to £117." Know what you deserve – after all, it's your money.

Remember, just because you might not move out until June doesn't mean you can't start protecting yourself now.