Greater protection for Scottish tenants

April 5, 2012

Northwood UK’s Compliance Manager AC Forscutt explains the introduction of Tenancy Deposit Schemes in Scotland

Last year the Scottish Government passed legislation making it the law to provide for Tenancy Deposit Schemes in Scotland.  The scheme will shortly be coming into force, so it’s something that landlords and tenants in Scotland should be aware of.

We welcome the legislation as it provides a clear procedure to follow. It is another way to ensure standards are being raised in the industry – and it reinforces the point that the deposit is the tenants’ money which the Landlord is only entitled to if the tenant has not paid rent or has damaged the property.

But what does the new legislation actually mean?

A tenancy deposit scheme is designed to protect tenants’ deposits by placing them with an independent third party.  The introduction of the law means that deposits are safeguarded throughout the duration of the tenancy, ensures that deposits are returned quickly and fairly and also ends the practice of unfairly withholding deposits.  Tenancy deposit schemes are already a legal requirement in England and Wales, but this is new legislation in Scotland.  The Scottish scheme varies slightly to the scheme in England and Wales as there is only provision for a Custodial scheme.  This means that all landlords or agents must submit deposits to the administrator of an approved scheme so that the deposit will be protected in a designated account until it is due to be repaid.

What does it mean for Northwood landlords in Scotland?

If your property is managed by Northwood, we will deal with deposit protection on your behalf and your Northwood office will discuss the process with you.

And what does it mean for tenants in Scotland?

Essentially, the new law will mean greater peace of mind for tenants.  Their deposits will be securely safeguarded and tenants will be reassured by the clarity of procedures.  If tenants should run into any difficulties for any reason, the tenancy deposit scheme also means that they have free access to an independent dispute resolution service.  The schemes are free to tenants and therefore they will not have to pay a charge to Northwood, the landlord, or to the scheme protecting the deposit.

By the time the scheme has been operational for 9 months, the legislation will apply to all tenancies regardless of when they started. This retrospective application will ensure that all existing tenants’ deposits will be protected in the same way as new tenancies.

The legislation is coming into force in the next 2-3 months. If you have any questions get in touch with your local Northwood UK office for more information and guidance.  To contact your local Northwood office visit: http://www.northwooduk.com/letting-agents

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