The Tenancy Deposit Scheme is a government-backed scheme to protect deposits paid by new tenants. It also protects tenants from having their deposits unfairly withheld by offering free and impartial adjudication in cases where deductions are contested. The rules of the scheme demand that a letting agent or landlord has to register all tenant deposits with an approved tenancy deposit scheme within 30 working days of the tenancy starting.
However, even though these new regulations were introduced in 2011, it seems that a number of landlords are still flouting them. SafeDeposits Scotland (one of the 3 government-approved schemes) has accessed publicly available documents which show that in the last 18 months more than 200 landlords across Scotland have failed to register tenant deposits in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. There are likely to be many other unreported cases.
If you discover that this has happened to your deposit, you can take your landlord or letting agent to Tribunal. Landlords can be made to pay up to 3 times the value of the deposit back to the tenant. Since the Tribunal started hearing cases at the end of 2017, it has paid out around £186,657 to tenants. This works out at roughly £900 per case. The largest amount paid out so far is in Edinburgh where a landlord was made to pay out £3937.50. Rented properties in Glasgow accounted for the greatest number of cases heard by the Tribunal with Edinburgh a close second.
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme is a very important piece of legislation for tenants and it is still evolving. In August this year, there were several further amendments which are due to come into force on Monday 11th November 2019
1. If the tenancy is less than 30 working days then there is no requirement for a landlord to lodge the deposit in a tenancy deposit scheme.
This will only apply where the full amount of the deposit received by the landlord/letting agent is returned to the tenant within 30 working days.
2. Tenancy Deposit Schemes are required to notify tenants if their deposit has been lodged late.
When a deposit is registered later than the 30 working days allowed, tenants have always had the right to take their landlord to the First-Tier Tribunal. However, this amendment forces tenancy deposit schemes to inform tenants if their tenancy deposit was lodged late. In addition, they must make them aware of their right to take it further via the First-Tier Tribunal.
Whilst the majority of landlords and letting agents are operating within the law there is still a significant minority who are not. In some cases, this will be entirely deliberate but in most, it will simply be due to ignorance of the legislation. This is where choosing an accredited letting agent can make a difference. An accredited letting agent will adhere to strict guidelines, promote best practice at work and always operate their business in line with the latest legislation.
Western Lettings is an award-winning, highly accredited letting agency in Glasgow (Scottish Letting Agent Register, ARLA Propertymark, LAS, SAL, CLA, TPOS). We specialise in property letting and property management and are registered with SafeDeposit Scotland. If you want to find out more about our services, please get in touch or give us a call on 0141 357 0436