Tenancy deposit scheme will benefit students

Students entering rented accommodation for the first time this year will be among the first to benefit from a new scheme which it is hoped will end the large number of disputes over deposits.

In the past, generations of students have found to their cost that when a deposit on rented accommodation is paid before moving in, there is no guarantee of getting it back when moving out. However, students renting properties this academic year are going to be among the guinea pigs for Scotland’s new tenancy deposit scheme. If there are any disputes over the return of deposits when the tenancy ends next summer, the dispute will be settled independently. The new scheme started in July and landlords have until November to comply.

Experts now believe that the days of arguments over deposits will be over which is good news for the estimated 11,000 tenants who have all or part of their deposits withheld each year. The scheme will also be welcomed by landlords who in the past have had to claim on their landlord insurance because of damage caused to the property by tenants and then faced months of wrangling with solicitors over withheld deposits.

Under the new scheme, both landlords and letting agents will be obliged to lodge a tenant’s deposit with an approved third-party scheme. They must then provide the tenant with confirmation plus proof of registration with their local authority at the time of paying the deposit. For the duration of the tenancy the money will be kept in an account set up specifically for the deposit.

The TDS (Tenancy Deposit Scheme) undoubtedly gives students better protection, although there are some concerns that the success of the scheme may be undermined by low awareness of it. Research has shown that the majority of private landlords are taking the scheme seriously and have already registered.

Julie Grieve, managing director at Braemore Property Management, said: “Students must check that their landlord is appropriately registered and that their deposit will go to an approved scheme under the new tenancy deposit scheme rules. Too often they are simply in a hurry to get the keys and don’t do the required homework.”

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