This week saw the 4th anniversary of Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) within Scotland. We went live in July 2012, when the new law made it compulsory for all landlords (and their letting agents) to lodge the tenants’ deposit money with a government authorised tenancy deposit scheme such as our own.
The law was introduced to protect the tenants and to make sure their deposit money wasn’t kept by the landlord unfairly. The schemes work by placing the deposit money into a ring-fenced bank account for the duration of the tenancy and at the end, both parties tell us who the money should go back to. If for any reason they can’t decide, we offer a free dispute resolution service to settle any disagreements.
Since the introduction of TDP, there have been a lot of cases where deposits have not been protected which has resulted landlords being found to be negligent and receiving a financial penalties.
By default, the law places the responsibility for protecting deposits with the landlord, however this week saw a landmark ruling; Scottish Trading Standards took to court and successfully prosecuted a letting agent for the first time since the law was introduced.
The North Ayreshire agent in question failed to protect two deposits for one of their landlord clients. The agent was found to be liable under the Consumer Protection Law which means that it was their responsibility to protect the deposits on behalf of their client.
This case will now act as a legal precedent, identifying the responsibility that letting agents have to act responsibly and in line with the law on behalf of their landlord clients.
Further details regarding the case can be found on the North Ayreshire Council website here.