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What Happens When There is a Dispute Between Tenants?

Disagreements happen. Our alternative dispute resolution (ADR) team works daily to help resolve disputes between tenants and landlords or letting agents. This is a free service that we provide to users in the unfortunate event that a tenancy ends with a disagreement surrounding repayment of the deposit.

It is regrettable for all parties when such a scenario arises, but conflict is not something that is exclusive to tenant-landlord/letting agent relationships. As you read this there will be countless disputes unfolding across the world - between family members, between friends, between work colleagues and even between perfect strangers - on matters ranging from the most trivial to life or death levels of seriousness.

With around 371,000* private rented households in Scotland it's not surprising therefore that now and again there can be disputes between tenants too. These can range in nature from being something directly related to the tenancy (e.g. a disagreement over who was responsible for damage to the property) to personal matters such as a breakdown in a relationship that ultimately changes the course of the tenancy.

The repayment of the tenancy deposit can become a bone of contention when tenants disagree - indeed the disagreement may itself be about how the deposit is to be repaid. SafeDeposits Scotland's policy on disputes between tenants is clear - it is not within our remit to resolve such disputes.

When a tenant, landlord or letting agent submits a deposit repayment proposal they will enter how much each tenant named on the deposit account should receive in repayment; this proposal will be sent to the other joint tenants. If we are notified that another tenant party to the deposit disagrees with the proposed distribution between tenants, we will equally split the monies between all tenants on the deposit account. We will notify all tenants named on the deposit account of this equal split before payment is made.

Neither during the proposal stage or after repayment has been made can SafeDeposits Scotland assist in a dispute between tenants. In the event that tenants are in dispute with each other, they will need to resolve this via other means independently of the tenancy deposit scheme. This may be through contacting a solicitor, which could be costly. Alternatively they may wish to seek advice through an organisation such as their local Citizens Advice Bureau, a university law clinic or Scottish Mediation in the first instance.

*Housing Statistics for Scotland, 2018.

Dispute Between Tenants - SafeDeposits Scotland
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