Landlords who let more than 150,000 rental homes in Scotland are breaking the law by failing to use tenancy deposit schemes, The Sunday Post has revealed.
In 2012, a new law was introduced that requires all Scottish landlords to protect their tenants’ deposits in one of three tenancy deposit schemes.
The Scottish Government has approved three schemes to protect the cash – Safety Deposit Scotland, Letting Protection Service Scotland, and My Deposits Scotland.
Failure to pay into the schemes can result in legal action and hefty fines.
Despite the potential penalties, The Sunday Post has found that more than 40% of Scotland’s 361,000 homes let by registered private landlords have no deposit held against them.
Craig Paterson, of campaigning group Living Rent, insists: “This is worrying. Landlords have a legal duty to hand over any deposits they take.”
Safety Deposit Scotland – the country’s largest scheme – says that it currently holds 121,145 deposits. Meanwhile, Letting Protection Service Scotland holds 42,592 and My Deposits Scotland has 50,115.
Landlords that do not comply with the law can face legal action at the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) and fines of up to three times the deposit amount.
Aberdeen University student Oana Iosif, who has lived in Italy and the Netherlands, was one of the unhappy tenants that took legal action against her landlord.
She moved into a one-bedroom flat in the city centre in October 2016, but left in December. When she tried to get her deposit back, it turned out that the landlord had never put it into a scheme.
In March, a tribunal judge ruled in Iosif’s favour and ordered the landlord to pay her £1,150, although she had to use sheriff officers to pursue him for the funds.
She says: “In other countries where I have lived there isn’t this level of protection for tenants as in Scotland, so this is a good thing.
“However, it’s sad to see not all landlords are getting behind the scheme.”
John Blackwood, the Chief Executive of the Scottish Association of Landlords, also comments: “There are some instances in which landlords will legitimately not have deposits registered, such as a property being empty, and where tenants cannot afford to pay a deposit, but we urge all landlords to take steps to ensure they fully comply with the law.”
Landlords in both England and north of the border in Scotland must remember to use tenancy deposit schemes. Our sister site, Landlord News, explains why the law is so important for landlords, as well as tenants, in this informative guide: https://landlordnews.co.uk/guides/a-landlords-guide-to-tenancy-deposits-2/