Research carried out by Safe Deposits Scotland has found that 55.8% of tenants have no idea that they can challenge deductions made from their deposit by a landlord. The study also found that 36.4% don’t know how to claim their deposit back, which is a bit worrying.
2012 regulations mean that landlords must protect their tenants’ deposits in an authorised deposit protection scheme. The average deposit is worth around £750, which is the equivalent of six weeks’ rent. The tenant pays a deposit to cover the cost of any damage to the property. If all goes well, their deposit will be returned when the tenancy ends. If the landlord finds problems, he is entitled to deduct money from the deposit to cover his costs.
There is a process in place to allow tenants and landlords to resolve disputes.
“Tenants who don’t know what’s in place to make sure their deposit money is protected could be left out of pocket by landlords or agents who don’t comply with the legislation, or who make unsubstantiated claims. The majority of landlords abide by the law but there is a small group who disregard their legal responsibilities,” says Safe Deposits Scotland.
If a landlord doesn’t take the appropriate steps to protect his tenant’s deposit within 30 days of the tenancy starting, he might be ordered to pay up to 3X the deposit value in compensation.
“The recently-introduced First-tier Tribunal, which makes decisions on such cases, has already adjudicated on 40 cases and reprimanded landlords.”
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