Tenancy Deposit Schemes in Scotland

Expert blog: Jen Paice, CEO of SafeDeposits Scotland, writes for s1homes.com

Scotland’s private rental sector faced a shake up a few years ago when the Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) regulations were introduced, meaning that all deposits had to be paid into a Scottish Government approved tenancy deposit scheme.

Three years since the new laws came into force, I’m pleased to say the majority of the nation’s landlords now comply and use deposit schemes, meaning that when you view a rental property on s1homes.com, it should be registered with one of the three approved deposit schemes.

SafeDeposits Scotland was one of three organisations formed to hold this money, and since then we’ve had to do a lot of work in getting the message out that not only is it not optional, it’s an important part of the rental process and is in effect, a tenant’s right.

Of course, there are still some landlords yet to sign up, but failure to do so will catch up with them eventually as potential tenants now rightly expect their deposit to be protected by a neutral party with an independent dispute resolution service.

Although landlords are legally obliged to abide by the rules, the approved deposit schemes out there – ourselves included – must add real value to the rental process and make it as easy as possible if we want compliance rates to rise further.

This means doing more than just collecting the money. It’s about enhancing the experience of both the tenant and the landlord. We provide peace of mind that the money in this important transaction is safely protected and will be fairly returned or distributed.

We are there for both parties from the moment a landlord opens an account right through to a tenant moving out, whether there’s a dispute over the money or not.

The process has to be hassle free and the dispute resolution service has to do what it says on the tin, i.e. resolve disputes independently, fairly and quickly.

So far SafeDeposits Scotland has secured over £63m worth of deposits not because landlords have no choice (as they do) but because we’ve been able to prove our worth to them. There has to be a real business benefit to placing your deposits with a third party.

So whatever side of the rental market you’re on, whether you’re renting and want to know your money is in a safe place, whether you’re a landlord who hasn’t already signed up, or whether you have but want to make sure you’re getting the best service for you and your tenants, we’ll be at the other end of the phone when you need us.

Jen Paice is CEO of SafeDeposits Scotland, Scotland’s only not-for-profit tenancy deposit scheme. See www.safedepositsscotland.com or call 03333 213136 for more details.

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