Scotland

Scottish compulsory tenancy deposit scheme begins

All landlords with properties in Scotland must now ensure that deposits are held in an approved tenancy deposit scheme.

Scottish Housing Minister, Keith Brown, announced the introduction of the requirement for all registered landlords in Scotland to use an approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme in Scotland from 2nd July 2012. There are three schemes now approved.

The dates for lodging deposits are available via the Scottish Government website and it’s worth taking some time now to check the dates which apply to any deposits you hold.

Please be aware that the phrase in the rules “where tenancy renewed” does apply to tenancies which have “rolled over” or renewed by tacit relocation. So for most existing tenancies, where deposits were received prior to 7th March 2011, and where the tenancy renews between 2nd October 2012 and 2nd April 2013 the deposit will require to be lodged within 30 working days of the renewal date.

Most other deposits held (ie. taken after 7th March 2011) will be required to be lodged by 13th November 2012 anyway. All new deposits taken on, or after, 2nd October 2012 will have 30 days to be lodged.

SafedepositsScotland is a not-for-profit organisation and one of the approved schemes backed by the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) plus Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), National Union of Students Scotland (NUS Scotland), Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), The Dispute Service (TDS), National Federation of Property Professionals (NFOPP), Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA) and National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA)

Background

Annually, tenancy deposits amount to over £74 million in the majority of the 273,000 households that make up the private rented sector in Scotland.

The Scottish Government has estimated that up to 11,000 tenants have £3.6 million of their deposits wrongly withheld each year.

The schemes also aim to protect the reputation of the majority of private rented sector landlords who act professionally and responsibly.

Once in place landlords or their agents must pay deposits to an approved scheme and provide key information about the tenancy, the deposit, and the scheme which is protecting it, to the tenant.

The scheme will be free for landlords and letting agents to participate in and will offer an independent dispute resolution service to deal with legitimate disagreements over deposit returns as a quicker and cheaper alternative to taking legal action.

Three schemes will operate across Scotland from July 2, 2012 when the legal requirement to submit deposits into a scheme will begin. In order to provide landlords with time to prepare the first category of deposits to be paid into the schemes will be from November this year.

Minister Keith Brown said, “It’s important to stress that the majority of landlords act responsibly. These schemes are aimed at those who tarnish the image of the private rented sector and exploit trusting tenants.

“This Government is committed to taking action to ensure tenants receive a fair deal, it’s not right that up to 11,000 tenants annually have £3.6 million of their deposits wrongly withheld.

“From July 2, the new regulations will allow a new cost effective approach to safeguarding tenancy deposits, protecting tenants and landlords. Anyone looking for more information should visit the schemes’ websites.”

More information

Further information about what tenancy deposit schemes means for tenants and landlords can be found on the Scottish Government website
or on the individual scheme web sites:

About the author

RLA

RLA

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) represents the interests of landlords in the private rented sector (PRS) across England and Wales. With over 23,000 subscribing members, and an additional 16,000 registered guests who engage regularly with the association, we are the leading voice of private landlords. Combined, they manage almost half a million properties.

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