If you are a landlord in England or Wales you will already know that once you take a deposit from a tenant you must by law place it in a deposit protection scheme within thirty days. You must also give your tenants information about the scheme that you chose, and provide them with a copy of the paperwork, or you could be eligible to pay a fine of up to three times the amount of the original deposit.
Now, the Scottish government has also decided to bring in a deposit protection scheme so that rogue landlords can no longer keep tenants’ deposits on unfair grounds, and all landlords have until today to place all their deposits into said scheme. Discussing the plans, managing director of SafeDeposits Scotland, Malcolm Lindo, said: “The clock has stopped for landlords and agents in Scotland. The deadline is now and if you let a property that is eligible for the scheme, are not signed up by the end of today, you could face legal action in the future.”
“Based on the latest Scottish Government figures, we estimate there are up to 56 per cent of tenancies eligible for taking a deposit where a deposit has not yet been paid into a scheme. That’s worryingly low at this late stage and means thousands of landlords could face legal action from their tenant in the future. It is a legal requirement but also this scheme benefits both landlords and tenants. Feedback from landlords has been positive so far. Signing up helps to resolve any disputes that could arise at the end of the tenancy fairly, quickly and impartially. It’s a win-win situation.”
“We believe the tenancy deposit scheme to be of great benefit to both tenants and landlords. It will help to avoid the lengthy and expensive disputes that can occasionally crop up at the end of a tenancy as it affords mutual protection to both these groups. We are concerned that a worryingly large number of landlords and tenants are still unaware of the existence of the scheme. The Scottish Government must ensure that all those affected are aware of the tenancy deposit scheme and ensure that it polices the sector appropriately to ensure compliance.”
Scottish landlords who fail to adhere to legislation concerning deposits after today could find themselves not only receiving a fine but also having their landlord insurance becoming void – much like landlords who are based in England and Wales. If you are a landlord in Scotland and are confused over the new deposit protection scheme then you can find out more information online or get in touch with your local authority.