In Fraser and Pease v Meehan, the landlord had failed to transfer the tenants' deposit to a tenancy deposit scheme or issue the Prescribed Information required under Article 42 of the Regulations. The Sheriff found that a "dismissive attitude" towards the Regulations had been adopted by the landlord, and ordered him to pay his tenants £3,450 - a value three times the amount of their deposit.
However, in Smith v Chan, the landlord's agent had lodged the deposit with a scheme, but had misspelled the postcode of the tenancy address when issuing the Prescribed Information - and the tenant denied having received anything. While the Sheriff accepted that an administration error had simply been made, he took the view that as the landlord had not provided the Prescribed Information correctly, he had failed to comply with the Regulations fully. In this case, the landlord was ordered to pay his tenant £775, an equivalent amount to the deposit paid.
These rulings show that - while the Sheriff may take into account the circumstances surrounding the case and award the tenant accordingly - enforcement of the Regulations is starting to happen. The tenant has up to three months after the tenancy ends to apply to the Sheriff Court for financial sanctions against the landlord.
SafeDeposits Scotland urges all landlords still holding a deposit to get in touch for help to comply. The scheme is free to use, and landlords and letting agents can register in minutes through our website.
It is crucial that landlords remember that the Regulations are two-part:
- The landlord must transfer the deposit to an approved tenancy deposit scheme within 30 working days of the beginning of the tenancy; and
- Provide all tenants on the tenancy agreement with a copy of the Prescribed Information - also within 30 working days of the beginning of the tenancy.
To help landlords comply with both parts of the Regulations, we have created a Prescribed Information template, which can be printed off and filled out. Or, to make this step even easier, the Prescribed Information template will automatically pre-populate when opened through your SafeDeposits Scotland online user account.