The National Landlords Association (NLA) is reminding landlords and letting agents in Scotland that from the 2nd of July 2012 it is mandatory to protect their tenantsâ€™ deposits, but six in ten tenants (63 per cent) in Scotland say they are not aware of Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) legislation, according to research from my|deposits Scotland, published today.
The law, passed by the Scottish Government last year, requires that all new and existing deposits be lodged with a government-licensed scheme for the duration of the tenancy. However, there are different deadlines for when new and existing deposits are required to be lodged, depending on when the deposit was first received. Landlords and letting agents have until next May to lodge all deposits but from 2nd October they will be required to lodge all new deposits within 30 working days of a tenancy starting.
By protecting a tenantâ€™s deposit in one of three Government-licenced Tenancy Deposit Protection schemes, landlords and letting agents will be keeping tenantsâ€™ deposit funds safe until the tenant vacates the property. And, should a dispute arise over the amount of deposit to be returned to the tenant, the matter can be resolved through a free dispute resolution service offered by the schemes, without the need to involve the courts.
Richard Price, Director of Operations at the NLA says, â€œTenancy Deposit Protection has undoubtedly helped raise standards in the private-rented sector in England and Wales since its introduction five years ago. The legislation has meant that many landlords and agents have had to adapt the way they process deposits to ensure clarity for all parties.
â€œIt is important that landlords, agents and tenants in Scotland are provided with clear guidance on what they will be required to do and by when. There are strict penalties of up to three-times the deposit amount for those who do not protect a tenantâ€™s deposit under the new law.”
The three approved schemes in Scotland are run by SafeDeposits Scotland, a not-for-profit partnership between landlords, agents and tenants, the Letting Protection Service Scotland and MyDeposits Scotland, which has run a similar scheme in England and Wales over the past five years.
Eddie Hooker, CEO of my|deposits Scotland says, â€œIt is estimated that between Â£2.2 million and Â£3.6 million worth of tenancy deposits are unfairly withheld each year.”