Scotland has just set up a new scheme designed to safeguard rental deposits, which came into force just yesterday. The private rental sector in Scotland consists of 273,000 households, which between them have deposits worth more than £75 million, according to Scottish housing minister Keith Brown.
The scheme is free to participate in, and should ensure landlords and letting agents can legally access deposits whenever it's justified. Tenants are protected as they no longer need to take legal action to recover deposit monies wrongfully held. In addition they'll have access to an independent dispute resolution service which is completely free, and which will help those situations where an amicable and fair settlement cannot be agreed on by the landlord and tenant.
At the moment the scheme is voluntary, but from November onwards landlords will have to submit deposits to an approved scheme. The government in Scotland has estimated between 8,000 and 11,000 tenants have £3.6 million worth of their deposit wrongfully withheld every year, and this new scheme is designed to offer a cost-effective and fair way of safeguarding both tenants and landlords rights. The legislation should help the majority of landlords who behave responsibly, and is designed to help improve the image of the private rental sector.
Experts are hopeful the scheme will create a more transparent and fair system, and that it will give much better protection for tenants in the private rental sector. Getting a deposit returned can often be something of a battle for tenants, and the new safe system combined with an independent dispute resolution service should greatly help with this problem.
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