Publication - FOI/EIR release

Annual reporting of tenancy deposit schemes: FOI release

Published: 27 Oct 2021

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Published:
27 Oct 2021
Annual reporting of tenancy deposit schemes: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202100235213
Date received: 1 Sep 2021
Date responded: 28 Sep 2021
Information requested

Please make the following available to me:

  • Annual (not quarterly) reporting information for each of Scotland's three approved tenancy deposit schemes for the 2020-21 year.
Response

Attached are 6 documents which provide annual report information for the three approved schemes in relation to Regulation 45, subsection 2:
a. The number of tenancy deposits paid to the scheme
b. The total value of tenancy deposits held in designated accounts at the end of the financial year
c. The total value of tenancy deposits repaid to tenants
g. Details of all referrals to the dispute resolution mechanism
h. Details of any complaints received about the scheme

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some the information you have requested because an exemption(s) under section 33(1)(b) of FOISA applies to that information. You helpfully mention the exemptions that applied in an earlier FOI request you made for this information in relation to an earlier year. I confirm that the same exemption, under 33(1)(b) applies to the accounts information for the three deposit schemes.

This exemption applies because disclosure of this particular information would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interests of one or more of the tenancy deposit schemes operating in Scotland. Any disclosure of commercially sensitive information relating to the financial position of an individual scheme could provide a competitive advantage to one or more of the other schemes currently operating in Scotland with a consequential detrimental effect on the other scheme(s). This would fail the 'harm test'. In this instance, the damage caused by disclosing the commercially sensitive financial information could be of real and demonstrable significance, rather than simply marginal.

This exemption is subject to the 'public interest test'. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open and transparent government.

However, there is a greater public interest in protecting the commercial interests of the companies operating the tenancy deposit schemes in Scotland. We think release would cause real, actual and significant harm to commercial interests so it would not be in the public interest to release information.

About FOI
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Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG