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The Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations were introduced in Scotland on 7th March 2011. To comply with the Regulations, any landlord or letting agent in receipt of a tenancy deposit must:
Transfer the deposit to a government approved scheme, such as SafeDeposits Scotland, within 30 working days of the tenancy start date;
Provide all tenants on the tenancy agreement with particular key information, including confirmation of which scheme holds the deposit and when all or part of the deposit may be retained at the end of the tenancy. To help make this step easier, we have created a template, called the Prescribed Information template, which landlords can complete and give to their tenant(s) following the transfer of the deposit to SafeDeposits Scotland.
Should a landlord fail to protect deposits and/or provide information in accordance with the Regulations, tenants can apply to the Sheriff Court for sanctions against the landlord. If the Sheriff is satisfied that the landlord has failed to comply with the Regulations, they may order the landlord to pay the tenant up to three times the amount of the deposit. In addition they may order the landlord to submit the deposit to an approved scheme. A tenant has up to three months after the tenancy has ended to make an application to the court for sanctions against the landlord.
The Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations 2011 are retrospective, which means that they apply to all tenancy deposits in Scotland, including those taken before the Regulations were introduced. The transfer of deposits was phased in after the launch of the schemes, but since 15th May 2013 all tenancy deposits in Scotland must be held in a tenancy deposit scheme.
The duties in relation to tenancy deposits apply to landlords, as the person requiring the deposit. This does not mean that the landlord cannot employ an agent to act on their behalf to manage a tenancy. However, it is in the interests of landlords who employ a letting agent to satisfy themselves that the agent is acting in accordance with the Regulations. Any financial sanctions imposed for non-compliance will apply to the landlord, even if a letting agent has been involved.
To protect a deposit with SafeDeposits Scotland, a landlord or letting agent should register a user account, before logging in and adding the deposit details to the account. The landlord or letting agent can then transfer the deposit to SafeDeposits Scotland by debit card, BACS or cheque. Our ‘How to protect a deposit with SafeDeposits’ guidance document explains this process step-by-step.
When we receive the payment, a Deposit Protection Certificate will be sent to the landlord, tenant and letting agent, if there is one. The Deposit Protection Certificate is confirmation that the deposit is held by SafeDeposits Scotland and also confirms the details provided by the landlord or letting agent. If any information on the Deposit Protection Certificate is incorrect, please let SafeDeposits Scotland know as soon as possible.
At the end of the tenancy, the landlord, or agent acting on their behalf, and the tenant must contact SafeDeposits Scotland to confirm how the deposit should be repaid (i.e. if the full amount should be repaid to the tenant, or if any should be paid to the landlord). The deposit cannot be released until we have received confirmation from both parties that they agree on how the deposit is to be repaid. The repayment process is explained step-by-step in our ‘Payment of the deposit at the end of the tenancy’ guidance document.
If the landlord and tenant are unable to reach an agreement on how the deposit should be repaid, the dispute can be referred to the SafeDeposits Scotland alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process. While ADR is requested in a minority of cases, we do recommend that landlords, letting agents and tenants familiarise themselves with our Disputes guidance, which explains how the ADR process works and the type of evidence we look for.
We publish regular guidance documents on both the Landlords and Letting Agents and Tenants sections of our website. We also use our blog and newsletter to provide help and advice to landlords, letting agents and tenants.
For face-to-face support, we hold regular ADR workshops across Scotland. If you would like to register your interest for our next round of workshops, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
As well as holding regular workshops, our client support staff are happy to organise one-to-one training with letting agents in their offices. If you would like to arrange training at your office, at a time that suits you, please contact email@example.com with further details.