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The tenancy deposit scheme is provided by an independent third party to protect tenants' deposits until they are due to be repaid.
As a landlord who receives a deposit from your tenants you need to:
Connect Property Management uses Safe Deposit Scotland.
SafeDeposits covers those tenancies to which 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 their tenant, that landlord must also comply with the Tenancy Deposit Regulations.
This includes landlords of assured and short assured tenancies, university accommodation, as well as various other types of occupancy arrangement.
Landlords of the following types of property are not required to register and so will not have to comply with the Tenancy Deposit Regulations:
Landlords who live overseas and take a deposit, and who are not otherwise exempt, must comply with the Tenancy Deposit Regulations.
It does not matter if a third party (e.g. a guarantor) pays the deposit. Unless a landlord is exempt from complying with the Tenancy Deposit Regulations, the deposit must be submitted to an approved scheme.
The SafeDeposits scheme and the Tenancy Deposit Regulations do not apply to tenancies outside Scotland.
SafeDeposits may on request of both parties accept the registration of deposits paid in connection with the occupancy of any living accommodation in the PRS which is not a relevant tenancy.
This document sets out the SafeDeposits Tenancy Deposit Scheme Rules. This document does not apply to any other schemes which have been authorised for the protection of deposits.
A tenancy deposit is a sum of money which a landlord requires a tenant to pay at the start of the tenancy, and which will normally be returned to the tenant at the end of the tenancy. The money is security against the tenant not meeting their obligations in connection with a tenancy or occupancy arrangement. In certain circumstances a landlord may want to use some or all of the deposit at the end of the tenancy, for example:
A written guarantee, as often used by Deposit Guarantee Schemes, is not a sum of money and as such is not covered by Tenancy Deposit Regulations.
The Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 and the Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations 2011.
Landlords in Scotland who are required to register as landlords with their relevant local authority, and who take a deposit from their tenant, must not hold the money themselves. They must:
Any deposit accepted by a landlord on or after 2nd October 2012 must be deposited with an approved scheme within 30 working days of a tenancy starting. If the landlord held deposits before this date, the landlord must still protect them, but will be allowed more time to submit them to an approved scheme. For more information see our guidance document "When to comply".
It is a legal requirement for most landlords to register with the relevant local authority. SafeDeposits will collect information about that registration. This information will be referred to relevant local authorities to assist in the identification of unregistered landlords. Licencing authorities will be able to take appropriate action where they think it is necessary.
As the person who takes a deposit, it is ultimately the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that the duties in relation to deposits are complied with. This does not mean that a landlord cannot use an agent to act on their behalf. However, landlords using agents should satisfy themselves that they are acting in accordance with the regulations, depending on what they are contracted to do. Any sanctions imposed for non-compliance with the regulations apply to the landlord.
A landlord who wants to use SafeDeposits to protect a tenant’s deposit must pay it to the scheme within the timescales specified above in order to safeguard it. The landlord must also give information about their registration with the local authority when the deposit is paid over to the scheme.
At the same time the landlord must ensure that certain information is given to the tenant, including details about the amount of the deposit and the scheme where it is held.
The time limits are important because if a deposit is not paid to an approved scheme within the required timescale, or the required information is not given, the tenant may apply to the court for sanctions against the landlord.
SafeDeposits will accept payment of deposits by bank transfer, cheque, or debit card, and payments can be made online, by telephone, or by post.
When SafeDeposits has received payment of a deposit successfully registered with the scheme, we will:
Landlords are always responsible for providing their tenants with information about when all or part of their deposit may be retained at the end of their tenancy. Landlords must ensure that this is clearly explained with reference to the terms of the tenancy agreement.
Notwithstanding the Tenancy Deposit Certificate produced by SafeDeposits, landlords must make their own arrangements to ensure that their tenants receive the information to which they are entitled, in order to avoid the statutory penalties for a failure to do so. For the avoidance of doubt the scheme accepts no liability for a landlord’s failure to provide a tenant with any of the information required by the Regulations.
Where there is more than one landlord to a tenancy agreement, the landlord is responsible for appointing a designated landlord for any application to this scheme. The designated landlord must be authorised to act on behalf of, and represent, all joint landlords to a tenancy agreement.
Where a tenancy involves more than one tenant the landlord will be asked to nominate one of the tenants as the lead tenant, to act on behalf if all joint tenants when:
When your landlord transfers your deposit to SafeDeposits, we will send a Deposit Protection Certificate to all joint tenants on the tenancy agreement, which will show the names of all joint tenants, as well as highlighting who the lead tenant is.
When the tenancy ends, the tenant and landlord can submit a Proposal for Deposit Repayment to SafeDeposits stating:
SafeDeposits will write to the landlord or tenant as appropriate, asking them to confirm whether they agree with the Proposal for Deposit Repayment, or wish to dispute the amount. Where the landlord and tenant agree how all or part of the deposit is to be repaid, it will be paid out within 5 working days of SafeDeposits receiving confirmation of the agreement between the parties. The return of the deposit will take longer where the amount is disputed, or the landlord or tenant cannot be contacted, or do not co-operate.
Any dispute regarding the repayment of all or part of the deposit will be dealt with in accordance with these scheme rules unless SafeDeposits is notified otherwise in writing.
The deposit remains in the SafeDeposits account until it is repaid in accordance with the SafeDeposits scheme rules and the requirements of the Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations 2011.
SafeDeposits ensures that: