For students across Scotland, summer heralds the end of the academic year. Exam results are being published, glad rags are being donned for summer balls and for those at the end of their studies it is time for graduation. For many, the conclusion of the university or college year also means the end of their tenancy - some students may be moving back home or on to pastures new having graduated, while others may simply have a change of circumstances; perhaps, for example, they've made new friends in their first year and have decided to become flat mates in a new, larger property.

As is the case with that last example, it's also a time of year when students and students-to-be are looking ahead to the new academic year and many will be busy researching the ins and outs of starting a new - and potentially their first - tenancy in Scotland's private rented sector.

Here we round up some key points and considerations for both students reaching the end of their tenancy, and those embarking on a new renting adventure. Defying convention, we'll start with the end...

What to do at the end of your tenancy

If your tenancy started after 1st December 2017 it should be a Private Residential Tenancy, meaning that the notice to end your tenancy that you must give your landlord (in writing) is 28 days. If the tenancy started prior to 1st December 2017 it will most likely be an assured or short assured tenancy, which have different notice periods.

Before you move out we recommend that you check your tenancy agreement to make sure that you have followed all of the terms within it. If you have followed all the terms then the likelihood of your landlord needing to make a deduction from your deposit is minimised. Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with a mantra that we frequently use - leave the property in the same condition as the day you arrived!

It's after your tenancy has ended that the process to reclaim your deposit can begin, and this can be started by either you or your landlord or letting agent. If you're starting the ball rolling and your deposit is protected by SafeDeposits Scotland, log in at www.safedepositsscotland.com/repayment - if you're reading this and don't know your log in details, check your emails from us which will explain how to register and log in. If you have any difficulty with this then call or email our friendly team on 03333 213 136 or info@safedepositsscotland.com - we're here Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm. It's also good to check that we have the correct email address for you, so that you do not miss out on any important communications regarding your deposit. Where there is more than one tenant on a tenancy, please note that it is only the lead tenant who can start the repayment process.

On the repayment page you will enter a repayment request, indicating whether you want the full deposit repaid to you and any other tenants, or if any of the deposit should be paid to the landlord or letting agent. The latter would be the case if you have agreed to any deduction following check out with the landlord or agent.

You'll also be asked to enter your bank details at this stage so that we can repay the deposit to you as soon as the landlord or agent has agreed to your proposal. When you submit your proposal we automatically email this to your landlord or agent, who has 30 working days to respond. If they are in agreement with your proposal then payment will be made to you within five working days. If they disagree, they would respond with a counter-proposal. If the landlord or agent wants to keep some or all of the deposit for reasons you think are unfair, you can refer the repayment to our free adjudication service. In that scenario we'd ask all parties for further information about the tenancy and an impartial person would decide what repayment is fair based on that information.

If the repayment process is not started by the lead tenant, the landlord or letting agent can also begin it by submitting a repayment request. You will have the same opportunities as they would had you started the process - you can either agree with their proposal or respond with a counter-proposal, with the option to use our adjudication service if necessary. If their proposal is for repayment to you, then again payment will be made to you within five working days of your agreement.

How to get started with a tenancy

SafeDeposits Scotland is concerned with the protection of your tenancy deposit - we'll come to that in a moment, but before reaching the stage of paying a deposit and that deposit being protected there are likely many other things you'll be thinking about as you get ready to rent.

Our friends at Propertymark have a great Student Guide to Renting page online, which highlights a number of things you will want to consider from the earliest stages of your search for that perfect student property. Check the link out for valuable points on money, choosing housemates, location and more.

Once you've found the perfect property and it's time for your tenancy to begin, read the terms of the tenancy agreement carefully before you sign it and stick to them while you live in the property - remember the tenancy agreement is one of the first things we mentioned as being an important factor at the end of your tenancy. Another piece of paperwork to be carefully studied when moving in is the inventory - if you find anything to be dirty, broken or worn out when you move in then add comments about this.

Under the Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations 2011, when a landlord takes a deposit from their tenant they must:

- Transfer the deposit to a government approved tenancy deposit scheme, such as SafeDeposits Scotland.
- Provide the tenant(s) with particular key information, namely the tenancy address, total deposit paid and date they received it from you, their registration status with the local authority, the date they paid the deposit into a tenancy deposit scheme, the name and contact details of the tenancy deposit scheme, and any reasons why they might keep some or all of the deposit when you move out - with reference to the tenancy agreement.

These above two steps must be completed within 30 working days of the tenancy start date. If a landlord fails to comply with the regulations, their tenant can apply to the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) for financial sanctions. If the Chamber is satisfied that the landlord has failed to comply, they can order the landlord to pay the tenant up to three times the amount of the deposit.

All being well though, your landlord (or letting agent on their behalf) will complete these actions within the timescale required and the tenancy deposit scheme will confirm this to you. In the case of SafeDeposits Scotland, after the landlord or letting agent has transferred the deposit to us we will send you a deposit account number (DAN) and deposit repayment number (DRN) by email or post. You can use these details to log in to our website.

Whether you're reaching the end of your tenancy or just getting started in a new one, we're here to help with any tenancy deposit related queries. You'll find guidance documents on our website, or you can speak to our team about your deposit via the contact details mentioned above.