Tenant fee bill

Deposit research highlights tenant confusion

Deposit often cause friction between landlords and tenants, but could this be down to something a little more than just disagreements over wear and tear…?

Research released by SafeDeposits Scotland has revealed that a whopping 36.4% of tenants don’t know where to start when it comes to claiming back their deposits when they move out of privately rented accommodation.

Of 4,500 tenants surveyed, it was clear that there is a very definite air of confusions about deposits in general, and it’s unlikely that this is limited to Scotland.

The research showed that more than half of the respondents (55.8%) were unaware that they were able to challenge any deductions that their landlord made from their deposit, and over a quarter (26.8%) had no idea that their deposit had to be protected in a government-backed scheme.

SafeDeposits Scotland plans to implement a scheme to educate tenants about their rights when it comes to deposits, as well as upping efforts in raising awareness amongst landlords and agents with regards to their responsibilities to their tenants.

Our survey is the biggest one of its kind ever done in Scotland since tenancy deposit legislation was implemented in 2012 and the figures show that a considerable number of tenants don’t know what’s in place to make sure that not only is their money protected, but there’s recourse if there are any problems. 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. “If a landlord or agent fails to protect a tenant’s deposit within 30-days of the lease starting, they could be liable for up to three times the deposit value in compensation.

Victoria Smith, chief operating officer at SafeDeposits Scotland

SafeDeposits Scotland is now planning to step up its efforts to ‘educate’ tenants, as well as landlords and letting agents, across the country, to help make them aware of their rights and responsibilities in terms of tenancy deposit protection.

To make sure that you are completely up to date with what you should be doing, check out a this handy 'Deposits: Dos and Don'ts' video, created with Suzy Hershman, Head of Adjudication at MyDeposits

You can find more information on how withhold a deposit, and potential deal with a dispute here: https://www.urban.co.uk/landlord-university/advice...

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