What is tenancy deposit protection?
It’s normal practice for a landlord to take a deposit from their tenant as security, protecting the landlord should the terms of the tenancy agreement be broken.
The Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations 2011 was introduced in on 7 March 2011 to safeguard the tenant’s deposit. To comply with the regulations, the landlord must transfer the deposit to a Government-approved tenancy deposit scheme within 30 working days of the tenancy start date. The deposit must also remain protected for the duration of the tenancy.
The regulations also require the landlord, or their appointed letting agent, to provide the tenant with information regarding the deposit protection. This should include:
- the amount of the deposit (no more than two month’s rent) and the date they received it
- the date the deposit was paid into the tenancy deposit scheme
- the address of the property
- a statement confirming they're registered (or have applied to be registered) as a landlord in the property's local council area
- the name and contact details of the tenancy deposit scheme provider they used
- the conditions in which all or part of your deposit can be kept at the end of the tenancy
- information about sanctions if the deposit is late
If you have an arrangement to pay your deposit in instalments, then your landlord must give you this information in writing for each instalment.
What is a tenancy deposit scheme?
A tenancy deposit scheme is an independent third party authorised to hold and protect the tenant’s deposit for the duration of the tenancy. Once the landlord has transferred the deposit, it is kept in a designated bank account until the end of the tenancy and both parties have agreed to its return.
All deposits taken on private residential, assured, short assured tenancies, university accommodation and other types of occupancy agreements must be protected in a scheme approved by the Scottish Government, such as mydeposits Scotland.
What are the penalties for non-protection?
If the landlord fails to protect a deposit, or give the tenant the required information, the tenant should contact the landlord and ask them to provide the details.
If they still do not protect your deposit, or provide the information, the tenant can make an application to the First-Tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber). The Tribunal can order the landlord to pay you up to three times the amount of the deposit. The tenant can do this during the tenancy or up to three months after the tenancy has ended.
Are there any exemptions?
There are some circumstances where the landlord does not have to use a tenancy deposit scheme. They do not need to register your deposit if:
- the landlord returns the full deposit to you within 30 working days of the beginning of the tenancy
- you and the landlord are family members
- the tenancy is a 'life rent'
- the property is a holiday home
- the property is used by a religious organisation
- the property is supported accommodation
- it's an agricultural or crofting tenancy
- the landlord is also a resident in the property
- the property is subject to control orders
- the property has transitory ownership – where ownership of a house is short-term, e.g. a house which has been repossessed by a mortgage lender or a house held for up to 6 months by executors dealing with a deceased person's estate