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Regulations

Regulations

Concerns that some private landlords unfairly withhold tenants’ deposits led to provisions in the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006, for Scottish Ministers to bring forward regulations for the approval of tenancy deposit schemes in Scotland.

The Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations 2011 came into force on 7 March 2011. The Regulations set out the conditions that all schemes must meet before they can be approved by the Scottish Ministers.

Tenancy Deposit Schemes

Safeguarding Tenancy Deposits

A tenancy deposit scheme is a scheme provided by an independent third party to protect deposits until they are due to be repaid. Three schemes are now operating:

  • Letting Protection Service Scotland
  • Safedeposits Scotland
  • My|deposits Scotland
Landlord's legal duties

The legal duties on landlords who receive a tenancy deposit are:

  • to pay deposits to an approved tenancy deposit scheme
  • to provide the tenant with key information about the tenancy and deposit
Key dates for landlords

The dates by which landlords must pay deposits to an approved scheme and provide information to the tenant vary, depending on when the deposit was received:

1. Deposit received prior to 7 March 2011:

Where the tenancy is renewed by express agreement or tacit relocation on or after 2 October 2012 and before 2 April 2013 (Regulation 47(a))

Within 30 working days of renewal

In any other case (Regulation 47(b))

By 15 May 2013

2. Deposit received on or after 7 March 2011 and before 2 July 2012 (Regulation 48)

By 13 November 2012

3. Deposit received on or after 2 July 2012 and before 2 October 2012 (Regulation 4)

By 13 November 2012

4. Deposit received on or after 2 October 2012 (Regulation 3)

Within 30 working days of the beginning of the tenancy

Information about the schemes

Further details about the individual schemes and how landlords will be able to use their services are available on the individual scheme web sites below. Email addresses and telephone numbers are also included:

All three schemes have a range of information available for both landlords (and their agents) as well as tenants and these includei how landlords can join the schemes, how to submit deposits, how to ask for repayment of deposits and how the dispute resolution service will work.

Letting Protection Service Scotland

www.lettingprotectionscotland.com

Address:
The Pavilions
Bridgwater Road
Bristol
BS99 6BN
Email contact: events@lettingprotectionscotland.com
media@lettingprotectionscotland.com
All other enquiries can be made through the online forms that are contained within the LPSS website FAQs

Telephone: 0330 303 0031

SafeDeposits Scotland

www.safedepositsscotland.com
Address:
Lower Ground
250 West George Street
Glasgow
G2 4QY
Email contact: info@safedepositsscotland.com

Telephone:  03333 213 136
 
My|deposits Scotland

www.mydepositsscotland.co.uk

Address:
Premiere House
Elstree Way
Borehamwood
Hertfordshire
WD6 1JH
 

Email contact: info@mydepositsscotland.co.uk
Telephone: 0333 321 9402

Guidance

More information about tenancy deposit schemes and what they mean for tenants, landlords and letting agents is available in the frequently asked questions below:

If you have any further queries about tenancy deposits contact the Scottish Government Central Enquiry Unit:

  • Tele: 0300 244 4000
  • Text Relay Service: 18001+ 0300 244 4000 (service for the deaf)
  • International Callers: +44 131 244 4000
  • E-mail: ceu@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

 

FAQs - Landlords and Letting Agents
  1. General
  2. Tenancy deposit schemes
  3. Regulations Date for complying with the regulations
  4. Duty to provide information
  5. Deposits
  6. Students
  7. Return of deposits
  8. Disputes
  9. Failure to comply with tenancy deposit regulations
 
GENERAL

What do the Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations 2011 mean for landlords?

The regulations require that a landlord must pay deposits into an approved scheme and ensure that the money is held by an approved scheme for the duration of the tenancy. Evidence of registration with the relevant local authority must be provided when the deposit is paid over. (Regulations 3 and 44 apply)

The tenant must also be provided with specific information about the tenancy, the deposit and the scheme that will be protecting it. (Regulations 42 and 43 apply).

Which landlords will have to comply with the regulations?

The types of tenancy to which these regulations will apply are the same as those covered by the landlord registration provisions in the Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004 apply. Therefore, if a landlord is required to register with a local authority, and takes a deposit from a tenant, they must also comply with tenancy deposit regulations.

Landlords of the following types of property are not required to register and so will not have to comply with tenancy deposit regulations:

  • Lets to family members
  • Life rents
  • Houses for holiday use
  • Properties used by religious orders and organisations
  • Accommodation with care
  • Houses subject to control orders
  • Agricultural and crofting tenancies
  • Resident landlords
  • Transitory ownership (executors, heritable creditors and insolvency practitioners)

The regulations do not apply to tenancies outside Scotland.

Do the Regulations apply to a landlord who lives outside Scotland?

The regulations apply to all landlords who receive a deposit in connection with relevant tenancies in Scotland, unless they are exempt.

Why does information about landlord registration status have to be declared?

It is a legal requirement for most landlords to register with the relevant local authority. Approved schemes will collect information about registration and refer it to the relevant local authorities to assist in the identification of unregistered landlords.

Will schemes accept deposits from unregistered landlords?

Yes. Schemes must accept all deposits received in connection with a relevant tenancy.

How will the schemes verify that a landlord is registered?

It is not the role of tenancy deposit schemes to verify landlord registration status. It will be for the relevant licensing authority to make any checks on the validity of information provided to them by the scheme.

What happens if a landlord uses a letting agent?

As the person who requires a deposit to be taken, the duties in relation to tenancy deposits rest with the landlord.

If a landlord uses a letting agent, it will be in their interests to check that the agent acts in accordance with the regulations.

Any sanctions imposed by a sheriff for non-compliance with the regulations, will apply to the landlord. See the section on Failure to comply with tenancy deposit regulations for more details.

Are accredited landlords exempt?

No.

Back to the index

 
2. TENANCY DEPOSIT SCHEMES

When will a tenancy deposit scheme come into effect?

Tenancy deposits schemes  started operating on Monday 2 July 2012. The three schemes that have been approved by the Scottish Ministers are:

  • Letting Protection Service Scotland
  • SafeDeposits Scotland
  • My|deposits Scotland

Why has the Scottish Government only permitted the custodial scheme model option?

The custodial scheme model has many advantages over the insurance backed model. Custodial schemes provide independent protection for deposits as envisaged by the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006. The model is also simple, available to all landlords and letting agents, and free to its customers.

Will there be a choice of schemes?

Three schemes have been approved to start from 2 July 2012. Landlords may participate in more than one scheme at a time, although individual deposits can only be submitted to one scheme at a time.

Who will be able to use the schemes?

All schemes must be available to all landlords who are required to comply with tenancy deposit regulations, and any agents acting on their behalf.

How will the schemes be paid for?

Income accrued on the deposits held by approved schemes will be used to pay the running costs of those schemes. In a climate of low interest rates it is likely to be some time before schemes will generate enough income to cover their running costs. Therefore all schemes must have sufficient funds available to them to operate the scheme until the income generated by the deposits covers the running costs.

How will schemes be monitored?

Every approved scheme will be monitored by the Scottish Government on a quarterly and annual basis. This includes a requirement to report on the delivery of scheme services, the financial position of the scheme, including a set of independently audited accounts and statements on the income and expenditure of the scheme. Scottish Ministers are also required to review every approved tenancy deposit scheme from time to time, and if necessary, take steps to secure the revision of the reviewed scheme.

How much will it cost to join the schemes?

There will be no charges for landlords or letting agents to participate in a scheme.

Do landlords have to take a deposit?

No. Deposits are taken at the landlord’s discretion

Back to the index

 
3. DATE FOR COMPLYING WITH THE REGULATIONS

When will landlords need to comply with the regulations?

This will vary, depending on when the deposit was received:

 

 

Date deposit received

Regulation

Duty to comply

1

Deposit received prior to 7 March 2011 and tenancy renewed by express agreement or on tacit relocation on or after 2 October 2012 and before 2 April 2013

In any other case

Regulation 47(a)

Regulation 47(b)

Within 30 working days of renewal

By 15 May 2013

2

Deposit received on or after 7 March 2011 and before 2 July 2012

Regulation 48

By 13 November 2012

3

Deposit received on or after 2 July 2012 and before 2 October 2012

Regulation 4

By 13 November 2012

4

Deposit received on or after 2 October 2012

Regulation 3

Within 30 working days of the beginning of the tenancy

Back to the index

 
4. DUTY TO PROVIDE INFORMATION

What information must a landlord give to a tenant?

Under Regulation 42 of the 2011 Act you must provide your tenant with information about the following:

  • your landlord registration status
  • confirmation of receipt of the deposit
  • confirmation of the date it was paid to an approved scheme
  • the name and contact details for the scheme holding the deposit
  • the address to which the deposit relates
  • the reasons why part or all of the deposit might be withheld at the end of the tenancy, with reference to the tenancy agreement

The information must be provided within the timescales indicated under Section 3 Date for complying with the regulations.

Back to the index

 
5. PROTECTION OF DEPOSITS

Who is responsible for submitting deposits to a scheme?

The regulations place the duty on landlords to ensure that tenancy deposits are submitted to an approved scheme; to provide information to the tenant, and ensure that deposits are held by an approved scheme throughout the tenancy.

If a landlord uses a letting agent to manage the tenancy, it will be in their interests to ensure that the agent acts in accordance with the Regulations.

Will approved schemes accept deposits from landlords who want to protect deposits on a voluntary basis?

Some landlords will be exempt from tenancy deposit regulations. It will be for individual scheme providers to decide if they will accept deposits from landlords who are not legally obliged to submit them to a scheme.

How will landlords and letting agents with large numbers of deposits submit them to a scheme?

Individual scheme providers can give advice on the procedures for submission of large numbers of deposits and whether any bulk transfer facilities are available.

Will landlords and letting agents need to adapt existing IT systems to participate in any of the schemes?

Individual scheme providers can give advice on the compatibility of IT systems.

How will the scheme protect deposits?

On receipt of a deposit, the scheme administrator will transfer the money to a regulated banking institution pass the money for holding in designated customer accounts until it is due to be repaid after the end of the tenancy.

Will the deposits be safe if the landlord or letting agent goes out of business?

Yes – as long as the deposit has been paid to an approved tenancy deposit scheme.

How will deposits be protected if the scheme fails?

All deposits will be held in ring fenced bank accounts to ensure that the money will be protected against any claim from the scheme or any of its creditors should the scheme fail. Deposit funds must be invested in such a way that they will always be adequately protected and be available for repayment or transfer to another scheme, if required.

What happens if the banks holding the deposits fail?

Deposits will be invested in regulated banking institutions. In the event of bank failure, claims on deposit funds can be considered under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, subject to the qualifying conditions and limits in place at that time.

Will schemes accept deposits that are paid to landlords by instalments?

Yes.

Can deposits be transferred from one scheme to another?

Yes. A landlord may apply for the deposit to be transferred to another scheme.

What happens to the deposit if a landlord sells a property part way through the tenancy with the tenant still resident?

If the deposit has already been submitted to an approved scheme the scheme administrator will continue to hold the deposit until it is due to be repaid. Any new landlord should ensure that the deposit has been, or is submitted to an approved scheme in the required timescale.

Back to the index

 
6. STUDENTS

Are providers of university accommodation exempt?

No.

What happens where a parent pays the deposit on a student’s behalf?

It does not matter if a third party pays the deposit. Unless the landlord is exempt from complying with tenancy deposit scheme regulations, the deposit will need to be submitted to an approved scheme.

Does a holding deposit (i.e. a deposit that is taken before the tenant and landlord have entered into an agreement in respect of a tenancy for a specific property) have to be protected by a scheme?

A deposit for the purposes of tenancy deposit regulations is a sum of money held as security against the tenant not meeting their obligations in connection with a tenancy or occupancy arrangement.

If a holding deposit becomes the tenancy deposit, the landlord must pay the deposit into an approved scheme within the required timescale.

Universities may take deposits months in advance of when a tenancy is due to commence. When must they be submitted to a scheme?

Section 3 of these FAQs sets out all the timescales for the submission deposits.

What happens if the property is let to several tenants on one tenancy agreement?

Individual scheme providers may require joint tenants to nominate a lead tenant to be the main contact for dealing with the submission and repayment of deposits, as well as any dispute that might arise ate the end of the tenancy. However, all schemes must make provision for individual tenants to be able to access the scheme and its services.

Back to the index

 
7. RETURN OF DEPOSITS

How will deposits be returned at the end of a tenancy?

The landlord should apply to the scheme for repayment of the deposit after the end of the tenancy, giving details about how much should be repaid to the tenant. The scheme administrator will write to the tenant asking them to confirm whether they agree with the application, or whether they wish to dispute the amount. If the tenant agrees, the scheme administrator will repay the deposit accordingly.

How long will it take to return the deposit?

Where the tenant agrees with the landlord’s application, the deposit will be repaid within 5 working days. The return of deposits may take longer where the amount is disputed, or the landlord or tenant cannot be contacted, or does not cooperate.

What if the landlord applies for the return of the deposit and the tenant is not contactable?

On receipt of the application for repayment, the scheme administrator will write to the tenant to confirm whether they agree, or whether they wish to dispute the amount. If no confirmation is received from the tenant within 30 working days, the scheme administrator will repay any amount claimed by the landlord within 5 working days of the end of the 30 working day period. Any amount due to the tenant will be held by the scheme in case the tenant contacts the scheme to apply for it at a later date.

What if the landlord doesn’t apply for the deposit?

The tenant can also apply to the scheme for repayment of the deposit. Where a tenant does apply for the deposit, the scheme administrator will write to the landlord to notify them of the application and amount applied for. If the landlord agrees to the amount applied for by the tenant the scheme administrator will repay the deposit within 5 working days. If the landlord does not agree with the tenant’s application, or make an alternative application within 30 working days, the full deposit is repaid to the tenant within 5 working days of the end of the 30 day period.

What happens if a landlord/agent wants to claim on the deposit for damages that occur midway through the tenancy?

The Regulations do not make provision for deposits to be returned other than after the end of a tenancy or for the purposes of transferring it to another scheme.

Will interest be returned with the deposit?

No. Interest accrued on deposits paid in to an approved scheme, will be used first and foremost for paying the running costs of that scheme.

Back to the index

 
8. DISPUTES

What happens if the tenant disagrees with the landlord’s application for the return of the deposit?

Every tenancy deposit scheme must provide access to a dispute resolution service. This means that where a tenant does not agree with the amount of deposit applied for by the landlord, the tenant can ask for the case to be referred to an independent adjudicator. The adjudicator will make a decision about how the deposit should be repaid, based on evidence provided by both parties.

The scheme administrator must be satisfied that the tenant has tried to resolve the dispute with the landlord, and that this has failed, before referring a case to dispute resolution.

Does the tenant have to use dispute resolution?

No. The tenant can still opt to go to court, or use another form of redress to recover their deposit. However, the landlord will be required to cooperate with the dispute resolution service if the tenant raises a dispute with the scheme.

How is a dispute raised?

If the tenant does not agree with the application for the return of the deposit, they must notify the scheme administrator of the amount which they think should be repaid, and request a referral to the adjudicator. The disputed amount will be held in a designated account until the issue is resolved – any undisputed deposit will be returned to the tenant or landlord as soon as possible. The scheme administrator will refer the case to dispute resolution.

Can a dispute be raised after the tenant has left the property?

Yes, although the timescales within which a request for a referral to dispute resolution can be made will be determined by the rules of individual scheme providers.

What happens to the deposit if the tenant chooses to go to court?

The tenant has 30 working days to notify the scheme administrator if they want to use the dispute resolution service. If the tenant tells the scheme that they want to go to court, the deposit will be released as per the landlord’s application within 5 working days after the expiry of the 30 working day period.

How much will dispute resolution cost?

There will be no charge to use the dispute resolution service.

Will evidence be needed to support a dispute?

Yes. Both the landlord and tenant will be asked to provide evidence to support their claims on the deposit. The types of evidence that will be accepted will be specified by individual scheme providers.

Is there any guidance available on dispute resolution?

All approved schemes have produced guidance on how their dispute resolution service will operate, including advice about evidence to support a claim on a deposit and fair wear and tear. This is available on the scheme websites.

Do the regulations require the landlord to provide an inventory?

No. However, it is recognised as good practice to complete an inventory at the outset of the tenancy, and again when the tenancy ends. If the tenant has agreed the inventory at each stage, this reduces the potential for a dispute to arise.

Landlords may wish to consider whether existing inventories or tenancy agreements need to be updated in preparation for the introduction of tenancy deposit schemes. Landlord organisations and the individual scheme providers can offer advice on this issue.

Does an inventory have to be provided by an independent organisation?

No. A landlord may choose to produce the inventory themselves, or use an agent or organisation to do so on their behalf if they wish. Many local authorities and landlord organisations have templates and guidance available for use in producing an inventory.

Will the adjudicator consider a dispute without an inventory?

The adjudicator will base their decision on the evidence that is made available to them by both parties. Failure to provide suitable evidence in support of a claim may affect the outcome of the dispute. An inventory will be helpful in supporting a claim on a deposit.

Will the adjudicator deal with disputes for recovery of an amount in excess of the deposit?

No. Tenancy deposit schemes will only deal with the deposit that has been paid by the tenant. Additional sums must be recovered by other means e.g. through the courts.

How long does the dispute resolution process take?

The adjudicator must decide any dispute within 20 working days of receiving the referral.

Within five working days of reaching a decision, the adjudicator must write to the scheme administrator, the tenant and landlord, setting out the detail of the decision. It is for individual scheme providers to decide how long to allow parties to provide evidence in support of a dispute.

What if the landlord needs the deposit to pay for repairs?

Any disputed amount of the deposit cannot be returned until the dispute is resolved or the tenant and landlord otherwise reach agreement, or agree to abandon the adjudication process. Any part of the deposit that isn’t disputed will be returned as soon as possible.

What happens to the deposit if the tenant fails to pay the last month’s rent or the final utility bill and disagrees with the landlord’s claim on the deposit?

This will depend on whether the tenancy agreement says that part or all of the deposit may be retained by the landlord in these circumstances. If the tenant disagrees with the application for repayment of the deposit, and requests a referral to dispute resolution, the adjudicator will take account of what is in the tenancy agreement.

Can the adjudicator’s decision be challenged?

Both parties will have 10 working days from the date the decision is notified, to request a review of that decision. A review can only be accepted if the adjudicator has erred in law, and or fact, for example if the adjudicator has ignored evidence that was provided to support the claim.

A review will not be accepted on the basis that either party does not like the outcome. A decision of the adjudicator following a review is final.

How long does it take to receive the deposit once the adjudication has been made?

The deposit must be returned within 5 working days of the end of the 10 working days allowed for a request for review. Where a review is undertaken, the deposit must be returned by the scheme administrator within 5 working days of notification of the review decision.

Back to the index

 
9. FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH TENANCY DEPOSIT REGULATIONS

What happens if the deposit is not submitted to an approved scheme and/or information not provided to the tenant?

A tenant may apply to a sheriff court for sanctions against the landlord for non compliance with the regulations.

If the sheriff is satisfied that the landlord has failed to comply, they must order the landlord to pay the tenant up to three times the amount of the deposit and may order that the deposit is submitted to an approved scheme or information provided.

The sheriff will have discretion to take the individual circumstances of each application into account when deciding the amount of financial penalty that should apply.

Back to the index

 

FAQs - Tenants
  1. General
  2. Tenancy deposit schemes
  3. Date for complying with the regulations
  4. Provision of information
  5. Protection of deposits
  6. Students
  7. Return of deposits
  8. Disputes
  9. Failure to comply with tenancy deposit regulations
 
1. GENERAL

Will my tenancy deposit be affected?

This depends on what type of tenancy you live in. All landlords who are required to register with their local authority under the Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004 must also comply with the tenancy deposit schemes regulations.

Landlords of the following types of property are not required to register under the 2004 Act, and so will not have to comply with tenancy deposit regulations:

  • Lets to family members
  • Life rents
  • Houses for holiday use
  • Properties used by religious orders and organisations
  • Accommodation with care
  • Houses subject to control orders
  • Agricultural and crofting tenancies
  • Resident landlords
  • Transitory ownership (executors, heritable creditors and insolvency practitioners)

If your tenancy type is not included in the list above, your landlord must deal with your tenancy deposit in accordance with tenancy deposit regulations. The regulations will not apply to tenancies outside Scotland.

What will my landlord have to do?

If your landlord has received a tenancy deposit from you and they are not exempt they must pay the deposit to an approved scheme within a specified timescale. Your landlord must ensure that the deposit remains with an approved scheme for the duration of the tenancy.

Your landlord must also provide you with key information relating to your tenancy, the deposit, the circumstances in which the deposit may be withheld and details of the scheme protecting the deposit.

What if my landlord lives outside Scotland?

A landlord who lives outside Scotland and receives a deposit in connection with a relevant tenancy in Scotland must still comply with tenancy deposit regulations, unless they are exempt.

Back to the index

 

2. TENANCY DEPOSIT SCHEMES

When will a tenancy deposit scheme come into effect?

Tenancy deposits schemes started operating on Monday 2 July 2012. The three schemes that have been approved by the Scottish Ministers are:

  • Letting Protection Service Scotland
  • SafeDeposits Scotland
  • My|deposits Scotland

How will tenancy deposit schemes work?

A tenant will pay the deposit to their landlord or agent, as happens now. The landlord is then responsible for ensuring that the deposit is submitted to an approved scheme, where it will be held in a designated account until the deposit is due to be repaid after the end of the tenancy.

Will I need to pay anything to my landlord or a scheme so that my deposit is protected?

No.

Back to the index

 

3. DATE FOR COMPLYING WITH THE REGULATIONS

When must my deposit be protected?

This will vary, depending on when the deposit was received:

 

 

Date deposit received

Regulation

Duty to comply

1

Deposit received prior to 7 March 2011 and tenancy renewed by express agreement or on tacit relocation on or after 2 October 2012 and before 2 April 2013

In any other case

Regulation 47(a)

Regulation 47(b)

Within 30 working days of renewal

By 15 May 2013

2

Deposit received on or after 7 March 2011 and before 2 July 2012

Regulation 48

By 13 November 2012

3

Deposit received on or after 2 July 2012 and before 2 October 2012

Regulation 4

By 13 November 2012

4

Deposit received on or after 2 October 2012

Regulation 3

Within 30 working days of the beginning of the tenancy

Back to the index

 

4. PROVISION OF INFORMATION

What information should I receive?

Your landlord is responsible for ensuring that you are provided with information about:

  • your landlord's registration status
  • confirmation of receipt of the deposit
  • confirmation of the date it was paid to an approved scheme
  • the name and contact details for the scheme holding the deposit
  • the address to which the deposit relates
  • the reasons why part or all of the deposit might be withheld at the end of the tenancy, with reference to the tenancy agreement

The information must be provided within the timescales set out in Section 3 of these FAQs Date for complying with the regulations.

Back to the index

 

5. PROTECTION OF DEPOSITS

Who is responsible for submitting deposits to a scheme?

The regulations place a duty on your landlord to ensure that tenancy deposits are paid to an approved scheme.

What if my landlord uses an agent?

Your landlord may still use an agent to act on their behalf. However it is ultimately the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that any agent acting for them protects the deposit and supplies you with the required information.

How will an approved scheme protect my deposit?

On receipt of a deposit, your landlord must ensure that it is paid to an approved scheme. The scheme administrator will then hold the deposit in a designated account, until the deposit is due to be repaid after the end of the tenancy.

Will my deposit be safe if my landlord or letting agent goes out of business?

Yes – if the deposit has been paid to an approved tenancy deposit scheme.

Will my deposit be safe if the scheme holding my deposit fails?

All deposits will be held in ring-fenced bank accounts to ensure that the money will be protected against any claim from the scheme or any of its creditors should the scheme fail. Deposit funds must be invested in such a way that they will always be adequately protected and be available for repayment to the tenant/landlord or transfer to another scheme, if required.

What happens if the banks holding the deposits fail?

Deposits will be invested in regulated banking institutions. In the event of bank failure, claims on deposit funds can be considered under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, subject to the qualifying conditions and limits in place at that time.

Will schemes accept deposits that are paid to landlords by instalments?

Yes.

How will I know if my deposit is protected by an approved scheme?

Your landlord must tell you that the deposit has been paid over to a scheme as part of the information they are legally obliged to give you. Once a deposit has been paid to an approved scheme, the scheme administrator will also write to you to confirm that the deposit has been protected. You will also be able to contact the scheme directly to confirm this.

What happens to the deposit if my landlord sells the property I rent part way through the tenancy?

If the deposit has already been submitted to an approved scheme the scheme administrator will continue to hold the deposit until it is due to be repaid. If the deposit is yet to be submitted to a scheme, the new landlord should ensure that the deposit is submitted within the required timescale.

Back to the index

 

6. STUDENTS

I am a student. Should my deposit be protected by a tenancy deposit scheme?

Unless the landlord is exempt from complying with the regulations, the deposit must be protected with an approved scheme. Only those landlords listed in section 1 will be exempt.

Will providers of university accommodation be exempt?

Only those landlords listed in Section 1 of these FAQs will be exempt.

What happens if someone pays the deposit on my behalf?

It does not matter if a third party pays the deposit. Unless the landlord is exempt from complying with tenancy deposit scheme regulations, the deposit will need to be submitted to an approved scheme.

Does a holding deposit (i.e. a deposit that is taken before the tenant and landlord enter into an agreement in respect of a specific tenancy) have to be protected by a scheme?

A deposit for the purposes of tenancy deposit regulations is a sum of money held as security against the tenant not meeting their obligations in connection with a tenancy or occupancy arrangement. This is not the same as a holding deposit.

If a holding deposit becomes the tenancy deposit, the landlord must pay the deposit into an approved scheme within the required timescale.

Universities often take tenancy deposits months in advance of when a tenancy is due to commence. When must they be submitted to a scheme?

Section 3 of these FAQs sets out all the timescales for the submission deposits.

What happens if the property is let to several tenants on one tenancy agreement?

Individual scheme providers may require joint tenants to nominate a lead tenant to be the main contact for dealing with the submission and repayment of deposits, as well as any dispute that might arise at the end of the tenancy. However, all schemes must make provision for individual tenants to be able to access the scheme and its services.

Back to the index

 

7. RETURN OF DEPOSITS

What happens if my landlord/agent wants to claim on the deposit for damages that occur midway through the tenancy?

The Regulations do not make provision for deposits to be returned other than after the end of a tenancy or for the purposes of transferring it to another scheme.

How will I get my deposit back at the end of a tenancy?

The landlord must apply to the scheme for repayment of the deposit after the end of the tenancy, giving details about how much of the deposit should be repaid to you. The scheme administrator will write to you, asking you to confirm whether you agree with the landlord’s application, or whether you wish to dispute the amount. If you agree with the landlord’s application, the scheme administrator will repay the deposit accordingly.

How long will it take to get my deposit back?

If you agree with the landlord’s application, the deposit will be repaid within 5 working days. The return of deposits may take longer where the amount is disputed, or either party cannot be contacted, or does not cooperate.

What if my landlord does not apply for the deposit?

As the tenant, you may also apply to the scheme for repayment of the deposit. If you do apply for the deposit, the scheme administrator will write to the landlord to notify them of your application and amount applied for. If the landlord does not agree to the amount applied for by you, or make an alternative application within 30 working days, the full deposit is repaid to you within 5 working days of the end of the 30 day period.

Will interest be returned with the deposit?

No. Interest earned on the deposits held by an approved scheme, will be used first and foremost to pay the running costs of that scheme.

How is the deposit paid if I am an overseas student who returns home?

This will depend on the processes put in place by individual scheme providers. There may be charges to cover the cost of repaying deposit funds into a foreign bank account.

Back to the index

 

8. DISPUTES

What is dispute resolution?

The dispute resolution process provides for an independent adjudicator to look at evidence provided by both tenant and landlord to resolve disagreements over the return of tenancy deposits.

What happens if I disagree with the amount of deposit applied for by my landlord?

Every approved tenancy deposit scheme will be required to provide access to a dispute resolution service. This means that if you do not agree with the amount of deposit applied for by the landlord at the end of the tenancy, you can ask for the case to be referred to an independent adjudicator. The adjudicator will make a decision about how the deposit should be repaid, based on evidence provided by you and your landlord.

The scheme administrator must be satisfied that you have tried to resolve the dispute with your landlord, and that this has failed, before referring a case to dispute resolution.

Do I have to agree to dispute resolution?

No. You can still go to court, or use another form of redress to recover your deposit.

How do I raise a dispute?

If you do not agree with the landlord’s application for the return of the deposit, you must notify the scheme administrator of the amount which you think should be repaid, and request a referral to the adjudicator. The disputed amount will be held in a designated account until the issue is resolved – any undisputed deposit will be returned as soon as possible. The scheme administrator will refer the case to dispute resolution.

Can I raise a dispute after I have left the property?

Yes, although the timescales within which a request for a referral to dispute resolution can be made will be determined by the rules of individual scheme providers.

What happens to the deposit if I decide to go to court instead?

You will have 30 working days to notify the scheme administrator if you want to use the dispute resolution service. If you tell the scheme that you want to go to court instead, the deposit will be released as per the application by the landlord, which gives details of how much they feel is due to each party. The deposit will be released within 5 working days after the expiry of the 30 working day period. The scheme administrator has no further role to play and it will be for the court to decide how the deposit should be allocated.

How much will it cost me to raise a dispute?

There will be no charge to use the dispute resolution service.

Will I have to provide evidence to support a dispute?

Yes. Both you and your landlord will be asked to provide evidence to support your claims on the deposit. The types of evidence that will be accepted are not defined in the regulations and will be determined by individual scheme providers.

How long will the dispute resolution process take?

The adjudicator must decide any dispute within 20 working days of receiving the referral.

Within 5 working days of reaching a decision, the adjudicator must write to the scheme administrator, you and your landlord, setting out the detail of the decision.

Can the adjudicator’s decision be challenged?

Yes. Both parties will have 10 working days from the date the decision is notified, to request a review of that decision. A review can only be accepted if the adjudicator has erred in law, and or fact, for example if the adjudicator has ignored evidence that was provided to support the claim. A review will not be accepted simply on the basis that either party does not like the outcome. A decision of the adjudicator following a review is final.

How long does it take to return the deposit once the adjudication has been made?

The deposit must be returned within 5 working days of the end of the 10 working days allowed for a request for review of the adjudicator’s decision. Where a review is undertaken, the deposit must be returned by the scheme administrator within 5 working days of notification of the review decision. Back to the index

 

9. FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH TENANCY DEPOSIT REGULATIONS

What happens if the deposit is not submitted to a scheme and/or information provided?

You may apply to a sheriff court for sanctions against your landlord for non-compliance with the regulations. If the sheriff is satisfied that your landlord has failed to comply they must order the landlord to pay you up to three times the amount of the deposit. They may also order that the deposit is submitted to an approved scheme or the missing information provided.

The sheriff will have discretion to take the individual circumstances of each application into account when deciding the amount of financial penalty that should apply.

What happens if I move out of my home before realising that the landlord has not complied with the regulations?

You will have up to three months after the tenancy has ended to make an application to the court for sanctions against a landlord who has not complied with the Regulations.

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