Did you know that residential leases are the number one source of debt collection against UCF students and their guarantors/parents? The mid-Summer move out season is the peak time for landlords to add on charges that can end up on a student’s or guarantor’s credit report.

UCF Student Legal Services typically see dozens of students in the fall who have been hit with fees from their former landlords. The charges generally fall in two categories – penalties for failure to notify the landlord of move out and alleged damages to the property. These can range anywhere from a very small amount to thousands of dollars.

Since many landlords waive or have very small security deposit requirements, a student or guarantor who is hit with damage charges can be subject to different kinds of debt collection, including negative accounts on their credit reports and lawsuits. Being in debt collection can make it harder to rent an apartment or home in the future.

UCF Student Legal Services advises students to do the following:

  • Review your lease. Does it require written notice to the landlord before you move out? Many landlords require 30 or 60 days’ written notice that you will be vacating, and the landlord is supposed to notify you of this requirement. However, to be safe, refer to the time period noted in your lease and make sure to notify your landlord accordingly.
  • Upon move out, clean the apartment thoroughly and take out all trash and unwanted items. Keep a copy of any move-in/move-out inspection reports for your records.
  • Take pictures and/or video of the condition of the space at move out, including in interior/exterior of cabinets, inside appliances, sinks, bathtubs, toilets, etc. The more pictures, the better – a picture from the doorway of a room won’t disprove a charge for a stain in the far corner. If you fail to document the condition at move out and your landlord charges you for cleaning, painting or other damages, you will have very little evidence to rebut the charges.
  • Does your lease require you to change lightbulbs, replace air filters or other maintenance? If so, we recommend that you make sure that you ensure that you have complied with those obligations.
  • If you get a damages claim, you may have a limited time to dispute it, so we recommend that you act quickly.

    Questions? UCF Student Legal Services assists enrolled UCF students in a variety of legal matters, including landlord tenant, consumer, traffic tickets, most criminal and more. Call 407.823.2538 for an appointment or for more information, visit: sls.sdes.ucf.edu.