Our student intern, Victoria, gives advice on how you can avoid a disastrous departure from your student digs…
So it’s nearly the end of the year and the cherry blossom trees of the Main Building and the Woodville are blowing the hints of oncoming summer into many an unsuspecting face. It’s been so long since you paid that money for your housing deposit that it feels as gone with the wind as those petals. At times it certainly can feel like chasing up your bond money is as difficult as catching a petal in the wind. Though your bond may seem like Monopoly money now, it isn’t, and it could come in very useful when your student funding ceases over the summer. Learn from my explosive error…
If you’ve caused significant damage that clearly isn’t general wear and tear, the likelihood is that you won’t get all of your bond back. These things happen. In my second year I blew up my oven because I used Cilit Bang on it. Literally, bang and the dirt was gone (along with my oven, and my bond). If you take only two things from this blog, let them be don’t use Cilit Bang on ovens and leave the oven door open when cleaning it. (Apparently ovens are vacuums, hence the explosion).
If you’re more careful than me when it comes to reading instructions and your house is looking more or less the same as when you moved in, here are our top tips for getting your bond back in (hopefully) one piece. Unlike my poor oven, which was reduced to many pieces.
A month before
- Talk to your housemates and find out when they are planning to move out – you don’t want to be the one left to do all the cleaning!
- Cancel any TV or internet contracts that you have signed up to. You usually need to give at least 30 days’ notice to cancel – don’t end up paying for something you can’t use.
- Dispose of anything you no longer need. Find out about waste collection dates and recycling points here. There are also plenty of charity shops that would be grateful for any items you no longer want.
1 Week before
- Start packing and cleaning – leaving it until the last day may not be the best option!
- Update your address on SIMS and Student Finance
- Review your Inventory. If there are any differences make sure you address them as any changes due to damage etc could be deducted from your deposit.
- Remember you only have to pay a checking out fee if it is stated in your tenancy agreement.
Moving out day
- Take meter readings and don’t forget to submit them to your utilities supplier.
- If you opened a house bank account, decide when and who is going to close the account. Also, don’t forget to cancel your direct debit to the house account! If there is any money left in the account what are you going to do with it?
- Exchange contact details with all of your housemates, just in case something crops up. Don’t rely on Facebook/Twitter as you can easily be blocked.
- Do a final check that everything is clean and tidy, with all bins, fridges and freezers emptied and put out.
- That’s it! Hand your keys back and enjoy the sunny summer weather (hopefully it will be sunny).
Get your bond back
1. Refer back to your photographs
Hopefully you will have taken photographs of the property right at the beginning of the year which you can refer back to. If you didn’t, you could try contacting your agency or landlord for the photographs that were taken to advertise the property. You can assess any damage or alterations that have occurred by comparing the state of the property to the photos. Make a note of everything that has changed and tick it off as you fix or clean it.
2. Get fixing
If you’ve broken anything in the house, it might be worth getting it fixed before moving out. It may work out cheaper than what your landlord will charge you. For example, broken blinds are quite cheap to replace or repair so it would probably be cheaper to do it yourself. You could even ask your landlord or agency (confirm if they would charge for this first) to check the condition of the house prior to the checkout date, so that they can let you know anything that they would charge you for, and roughly how much it would be.
3. Get cleaning
Treat yourself to some of those glamorous washing up gloves with the fur-trimmed ends and get into cleaning mode. You don’t have to work tirelessly alone like Cinderella, rally your housemates together and make a day of it. Blast some Taylor Swift, and get the grime to shift. Refer back to a checklist, and make sure you’ve done everything you possibly can to leave the house sparkling clean. As much as a house in Cathays can sparkle, that is.
Need some visual guidance? Watch our video on how to ‘Blitz Your Bond Back’!
If you’ve done all of the above and you still find yourself being charged, don’t be afraid to dispute the charges with your landlord. Send them photo evidence if you can, or plead your case if they are trying to charge you for general wear and tear like a discoloured carpet.
Your bond should be protected and held in a Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme, so don’t panic if you and your landlord can’t come to an agreement. The deposit scheme can get involved to help solve the dispute!
If you need any advice or help with any part of the moving out process, you can contact Student Advice in the Students’ Union.
Use our checklist
Get more tips
Come and see us in Advice & Money
Student Support Services at Cardiff University are here to help you, please drop in or contact us should you have any questions.
Telephone: 002920 874844
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Victoria, student intern.
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