In March 2011 the Tenancy Deposit Scheme Regulations (Scotland) came into force. Since this date every letting agency in Scotland that receives a tenant deposit is now required by law to register with their local authority and join a tenancy deposit scheme. If they fail to comply they can face fines. The purpose of the schemes is to keep tenants’ money protected and ensure that they get back any money they are owed at the end of their tenancy.
Which tenancy deposit schemes are approved in Scotland?
In Scotland there are three tenancy deposit scheme providers to choose from:
At Western Lettings we register deposits from our tenants with Safe Deposits Scotland.
How do I know if my deposit has been registered with a scheme?
Once you have paid your deposit your letting agent must register your deposit with a tenancy deposit scheme within 30 days. They should then send you details of the scheme your deposit is registered with. At Western Lettings we will email you information about the scheme we use, Safe Deposits Scotland and send you a DAN (Deposit Account Number). The DAN will allow you to login to their website and claim back your deposit at the end of your tenancy.
If your letting agent hasn’t given you any information about a tenancy deposit scheme, you can check yourself to see if your deposit is registered. You do this by visiting the websites of the approved tenancy deposit schemes (listed above) and entering a few basic details about you and your tenancy.
What does my tenancy deposit cover?
When renting a property, most landlords or letting agents will ask for a deposit. A tenancy deposit acts as a guarantee against:
- Damage to the property (excluding general wear and tear)
- Missing or broken items
- Unpaid rent
- Outstanding gas, electricity, phone bills etc.
- Additional professional cleaning that is required if the property is left in a poor condition
If any of the above conditions occur, your deposit will be used to pay to make things right e.g. for extra cleaning to be carried out, damaged items to be fixed or missing items replaced etc. As long as you are a careful tenant, pay your bills on time and leave the property in the same condition as when you moved in, you will get your deposit back in full.
How do I go about getting my tenancy deposit back?
Different letting agencies have different procedures for this. At Western Lettings we will arrange a tenant check-out appointment at the end of your tenancy. We will go through the inventory that you were given at the start of the tenancy, checking for damaged or missing items. We will also check that everything has been left clean and tidy, ready for the next tenants and take final meter readings that we can forward on to your new address. Once this is complete, you can use your DAN to log in to the Safe Deposits Scotland website and make a repayment request. If Western Lettings believe there are reasons to make deposit deductions we will always try to reach an agreement with the tenant first. If this is not possible and all attempts to reach agreement fail, we will make our case to the representatives of Safe Deposits Scotland.
Why are tenancy deposit schemes important?
According to the Office for National Statistics, the private rental market now makes up 15% of all households in Scotland. With such high numbers in rented accommodation it is extremely important that deposits are kept in a safe place for the duration of the tenancy. Government approved tenancy deposit schemes protect against landlords or letting agencies going bankrupt and tenants losing all of their money. In addition, they greatly improve transparency and give tenants more opportunity to challenge deductions which they believe to be unfair.
If you are a landlord and need help with letting or managing your property, Western Lettings would love to hear from you. We are an ARLA licensed, multi-award winning letting agents in Glasgow. Give us a call on 0141 357 0436 or get in touch to find out more about our range of landlord services.