New rules that require virtually all private landlords to place their tenants’ deposit with a third party tenancy deposit protection scheme come into force today, 15th May.
But according to figures released by SafeDeposits Scotland, more than half of all private landlords and letting agents in Scotland, who should have handed over their tenants deposits to a deposit scheme have yet to comply with the new law.
As 20% of households in the Leith Walk ward and 13% of households in the Leith Ward are estimated to live in the private rented sector a quick calculation suggests that that a staggering 4258 tenants in the Leith area alone could be being let down by their landlord.
This means that the landlords could face legal action from their tenants if they do not comply.
Malcolm Lindo, Managing Director of SafeDeposits Scotland said: “The clock has stopped for landlords and agents in Scotland. The deadline is now and if you let a property that is eligible for the scheme, are not signed up by the end of today, you could face legal action in the future.
“Based on the latest Scottish Government figures, we estimate there are up to 56% of tenancies eligible for taking a deposit where a deposit has not yet been paid into a scheme. That’s worryingly low at this late stage and means thousands of landlords could face legal action from their tenant in the future.”
He added: “It is a legal requirement but also this scheme benefits both landlords and tenants. Feedback from landlords has been positive so far. Signing up helps to resolve any disputes that could arise at the end of the tenancy, fairly, quickly and impartially. It’s a win-win situation.”
Robin Parker, President of NUS Scotland, said, “These statistics seem to indicate that many landlords have yet to sign up to tenancy deposit schemes, which will be a surprise to student tenants who are expecting to hear shortly from the schemes how much of their deposit they are due back. Landlords are liable for huge penalties if they don’t submit their tenants’ deposits to a scheme, and we urge them to beat the deadline and sign up.”
If you are a private tenant, you should have been notified by your landlord that your deposit has been placed in a deposit protection scheme. You can find out more about how third party deposit schemes work in the video produced by Shelter Scotland below:
According to Shelter Scotland, if your landlord hasn’t registered your deposit with a deposit protections scheme, then you can apply to the sheriff court and the court can order the landlord to pay you up to three times the amount of the deposit. You can do this up to three months after your tenancy has ended.
If you apply to the sheriff court during the term of your tenancy then the court can also make the landlord adhere to the tenancy deposit regulations.
If you are starting a new private tenancy it’s more important then ever to keep a good record of the condition that found your new home in when you first moved in. To this end, you might also be intrigued to know that there’s a smart phone app for that. Shelter have produced a rather nifty Housemate app that helps you put together an inventory of your new home.
If on the other hand, you are a private landlord with property in Leith, you can lodge your tenants deposits at any of these three official providers: