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Tenancy Deposit Schemes in Scotland

Friday, 4th November, 2011

Tenancy Deposit Schemes in Scotland – What does this mean for tenants? Taken from www.nfopp.co.uk What is a tenancy deposit scheme? A tenancy deposit scheme is a scheme designed to protect tenants’ deposits by placing them with an independent third party. Why introduce tenancy deposit schemes? The main objectives of requiring deposits to be safeguarded by tenancy deposit schemes are: · To end the practice of unfairly withholding deposits; · To ensure that deposits are safeguarded throughout the duration of the tenancy; · To ensure that deposits are returned quickly and fairly, particularly where there is a dispute over the return of the deposit, or proportion of it, to tenant or landlord When will a tenancy deposit scheme be available? On 7 March 2011, regulations to provide for tenancy deposit schemes in Scotland became law. This means that Scottish Ministers are now able to consider proposals for the operation of tenancy deposit schemes, which they will assess against the conditions that are set out in the regulations. Once any suitable proposals have been received and approved, details of the schemes and the dates on which they will be available for use will be announced in due course. What will a tenancy deposit scheme mean for you? Tenancy deposits will be protected Landlords must submit deposits to the administrator of an approved scheme. The deposit will be protected in a designated account until it is due to be repaid. Schemes will be free to tenants Tenants will not have to pay a charge to their landlord, or to the scheme in order to protect their deposits. Quick repayment of deposits where there is no dispute Landlords will apply for the return of the deposit when the tenancy ends. The scheme administrator must return the deposit within five working days of obtaining agreement by the tenant. Free access to an independent dispute resolution service Every approved scheme must provide a way for disagreements over the return of deposits to be resolved. This service will be available free of charge as an alternative option to the tenant taking legal action for recovery of a deposit through the courts. Provision of information Landlords will be required to issue the tenant with key information relating to the tenancy, the deposit and the scheme that safeguards the deposit. Approved schemes will also be required to produce an information leaflet detailing their rules and procedures. Sanctions for non-compliance Tenants will be able to apply to the court for sanctions to be applied against a landlord who fails to protect deposits and/or provide information in accordance with the regulations. Financial penalties, payable to the tenant, will be imposed on landlords who fail to comply. Whose tenancy deposits will be protected? Every landlord that is required to register in the local authority register of landlords, in accordance with the Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004 (landlord registration), will need to comply with the Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations 2011. This includes landlords of assured and short assured tenancies, university accommodation, as well as various other types of occupancy arrangement. If you are unsure about whether your deposit should be protected you should independent advice. When must deposits be protected? This will vary, depending on when the deposit was received, and when the first scheme becomes operational. All deposits received after a scheme first becomes operational must be submitted to an approved scheme, and information provided to tenants within 30 working days of the start of the tenancy. Landlords already holding deposits before a scheme becomes operational must also protect deposits but will be allowed more time to submit them to an approved scheme. Further information More detailed information about the regulations and tenancy deposit schemes can be found on the Scottish Government website at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Built-Environment/Housing/privaterent A copy of the Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations 2011 can be found on the UK legislation website at www.legislation.gov.uk.



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