New electrical safety regulations for Scotland's landlords

New electrical safety regulations for Scotland’s private rented sector come into force on 1 December, requiring landlords to conduct electrical checks on their properties. To explain the rationale behind the new law and your responsibilities as a landlord, we’ve invited Phil Buckle, Director General of the charity Electrical Safety First, to give you the lowdown on the changes.

Scotland’s PRS has more than doubled in size in the last ten years. Yet in 2012, almost two thirds of PRS homes failed to meet the Scottish Housing Quality Standard and concern over disrepair and safety in the sector inevitably increased – particularly since poor electrics are often ‘invisible’, lying undiscovered until a serious accident occurs.
That’s why last year’s Scottish Housing Act included a requirement for regular electrical checks of both the electrical wiring and fittings etc. in all PRS homes by a registered electrician, and any electrical items provided as part of the tenancy. The regulation will come into effect from 1 December this year for tenancies that begin on or after this date.  Existing tenancies will be covered by the regulation from 1 December 2016, giving landlords time to organise inspections for their properties. 

Electrical checks must be undertaken at least every five years, and landlords will need to provide tenants with a copy of the latest Electrical Inspection Condition Report (EICR). Testing must be undertaken by an electrician who’s registered with one of the government’s approved schemes (to find an electrician in your area, click here). 

All electrical appliances that have been checked should carry a Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) sticker. The Scottish Government’s guidance also recommends – but has not made mandatory – the installation of a Residual Current Device in the fuse box of all rented homes, which will rapidly cut off the current to prevent electric shock.  

Electrical Safety First led a wide coalition of stakeholders – including the Scottish Association of Landlords, Shelter Scotland, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors Scotland and the Association of Residential Letting Agents - in the call for regular electrical checks. In addition to providing additional security for tenants, it was also seen as beneficial to landlords, who can face significant financial risks from fires and invalidated insurance claims, if they fail to ensure electrical safety in their rented properties. 

As there has been a long-standing requirement for landlords to provide an annual gas safety certificate, this new duty is seen as beginning to bring electrical safety on par with gas, and is a small price to pay for landlords to ensure the safety of their property and their tenants. Electrical Safety First is now working with Westminster and politicians in Wales and Northern Ireland, to ensure that this essential safety requirement is extended to tenants and landlords throughout the UK.

For more detailed information on the new regulation, visit 

Electrical Safety First has also produced a Landlord’s Guide to Electrical Safety (Scotland) which you can find here.

Our top ten inventory tips

Do you know the value of a clear and detailed inventory?

In a deposit dispute, the inventory can be the deciding factor. What's more, it can often prevent a dispute from happening in the first place.

Despite this, we know from our conversations with landlords and letting agents that many of you lack confidence when it comes to inventories and struggle to make yours suitably thorough.

So to help you, our expert adjudicators have pulled together their top 10 inventory tips. Take a look at them and see if your inventories match our adjudicators' advice. It could make a real difference.

Working with the Scottish Association of Landlords

This year we’ve had the pleasure of sponsoring and exhibiting at two of the biggest annual events in the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) calendar, April’s The Agency Business conference and the forthcoming National Landlord Day. As the body which represents the interests of all landlords and letting agents throughout Scotland, SAL is a key influence in the industry, and we are very pleased to support these key events.

The Agency Business Conference

Now in its fourth year, the Agency Business conference, held at Hampden Park in Glasgow, was bigger and better than ever.

We were very proud to sponsor this valuable event which brings together letting agents and other industry professionals from across Scotland to share ideas, experiences and good practice, and discuss developments in the industry. Predictably, the expected changes to legislation and regulation as a result of the passing of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 were the main talking point at this year’s event. 

The conference provided a great opportunity for us to catch up with our existing clients to find out their thoughts on industry news and what else we could be doing to support them. In addition, we really enjoyed meeting some agents who we hadn’t worked with prior to the event and talking to them about their needs and how we could help them with their deposit protection responsibilities. 

If you missed the conference, you can always catch up on some of the highlights of the day by watching SAL’s video, including our Head of Tenancy Deposit Protection, Daren, explaining why the Agency Business conference is so valuable to us. 

National Landlord Day

We’re now looking forward to National Landlord Day, the SAL’s major annual conference and exhibition, on 3 November this year. It’s the UK’s largest annual private sector housing conference and we’re delighted to be co-sponsors. Landlords and letting agents will gather at Edinburgh’s Dynamic Earth to discuss developments in the sector, seek advice from experts and enjoy a great programme of high profile speakers. 

We’ll be at stand 19 - do come and see us. You can test your dispute resolution skills with our ‘Be the adjudicator’ case study, enter our prize draw, or just have a chat about our service and what’s happening in the sector. We’re looking forward to meeting you there! To find out more, and book your place, please visit the SAL website.  

We look forward to collaborating with SAL on more projects in the future to help landlords and letting agents in Scotland with the best support possible.




Potential changes to requirements for Scottish letting agents

Under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014, the Scottish Government has released a consultation regarding a framework for the regulation of letting agents in Scotland.

The consultation includes proposals on a range of topics including:

> a mandatory register of letting agents with an associated ‘fit and proper’ person test;

> a training requirement that must be met to be admitted to the register;

> a statutory code of practice all letting agents must follow;

> a way for tenants and landlords to resolve complaints against letting agents for breaches of the statutory Code of Practice through a new specialist First-tier Tribunal; and

> powers for Scottish Ministers to obtain information and to inspect to monitor compliance and enforce regulatory requirements.

You can read the paper and respond via the Scottish Government website. Responses can be submitted online up to Sunday 15 November 2015. 

LPS Scotland sponsors The Agency Business conference

Recently we sponsored the Agency Business conference, hosted by the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) Council of Letting Agents at Hampden Park on 21 May. A unique event, this is the only time that letting agents in Scotland come together in a conference setting, and was therefore a great opportunity for us to catch up with our clients. We also met a number of agents who we don’t currently work with, so we took the opportunity to share our experience with them and explore how we could help deliver their tenancy deposit protection needs.

Our Head of Tenancy Deposit Protection, Daren, also contributed to the highlights video of the day, explaining why the Agency Business conference is so valuable to us. Watch it here.

You can also read what people had to say on Twitter by searching #Agentconf

Cuppa Catch-up with… Daren

We spotted Daren, our Head of Tenancy Deposit Protection, waiting for his venti triple espresso macchiato in the coffee stand queue and took the opportunity to ask him a few quick questions…

What are you most proud of?

That would definitely be setting up The LPS Scotland, and growing it to where we are now. I’m proud we’ve been able to build a valuable scheme in partnership with our clients.

What's one piece of advice you would give landlords, agents and tenants?

Communicate with each other. A friendly relationship always minimises the risk of problems at the end of the tenancy. Plus it will be much easier to agree a way forward, should any deductions need to be made to the deposit.

Can you tell us one thing people don't know about you?

I was once a landlord at a pub which was featured on a famous comedy sitcom! I say famous – it was a spin-off from Only Fools and Horses called The Green Green Grass. It followed ‘Boycie’, who’d headed to Shropshire for a new life - somehow it lasted for four series!

Where would your home be, if it could be anywhere?

Edinburgh! Of all the cities I have visited my favourite by far is Edinburgh. I love the old buildings and there is so much for the family to do.

Be the adjudicator!

Ever wondered how our adjudicators reach decisions in deposit disputes? Now you have the opportunity to understand the reasoning behind dispute outcomes with the first in our new series of interactive case studies.

So take a seat at the adjudicator’s desk, examine the evidence and have a go at resolving a real-life dispute. See if you’ve got what it takes to ‘Be the adjudicator!

Christmas Opening Hours

On behalf of everyone at The LPS Scotland, we'd like to wish you a very merry Christmas.

Our call centre will be open at the following times over the festive period:

  • Monday 22 December: 8.30am - 5.30pm
  • Tuesday 23 December: 8.30am - 5.30pm
  • Wednesday 24 December: 8.30am - 4.00pm
  • Thursday 25 December: Closed
  • Friday 26 December: Closed


  • Monday 29 December: 8.30am - 5.30pm
  • Tuesday 30 December: 8.30am - 5.30pm
  • Wednesday 31 December: 8.30am - 4.00pm
  • Thursday 1 January: Closed
  • Friday 2 January: 8.30am - 5.30pm

Enhancements to your online account

Following your feedback, we have made some enhancements to our online services. We want to make your life easier. That’s why we’ve made the following improvements to your online account:

  • Changes to the end of tenancy process, allowing you to make specific claims for things like cleaning, decorating etc. This will allow your tenant to respond to each claim separately, reducing the amount of disputes.  It also helps us to enhance the dispute process in the event that you and your tenant cannot come to an agreement
  • Auto population of Regulation 42 information at the end of the ‘Submit a new deposit’ process.
  • Enhancement to the ‘View deposit’ summary page, allowing you to view repayment claim information, check deadline dates and view payment history details.

You can try out the enhancements for yourself when you submit a deposit or start a repayment claim. 

Visit our website and log in to your account to get started today.


Keeping it local

From today, you'll be able to contact The LPS Scotland using our new standard rate telephone number, 0330 303 0031.

Following feedback from our customers, we know that many of you get in touch via mobile. Our new 033 number is inclusive in most landline and mobile minute bundles, so you can now use these to contact us!

For other ways to contact us, view our Help page.

We’re open this Saturday!


 On Saturday, August 31, we’re running a trial weekend call service.

We want to know if it’s more convenient for you, so we’ve arranged to open the lines from 9am to midday.

T: 0844 472 6666

It’s a one-off – but if it proves popular and productive then we’ll see if we can make it business as usual.

Let us know if you use the service and why not tweet your thoughts to @LPS_Scotland

Kevin Firth, Director

The Letting Protection Service Scotland

We do not spam. Stay informed.


WE know how irritating spam emails are. We do not send junk email.

So when we do email it’s because there’s a specific and good reason. Most often it’s because we’ve been asked for something like an ID reminder. Occasionally we need to tell you about service updates or give security advice.

Sometimes these emails can be mistaken for junk by email providers. Make sure you get the information you need by adding us to your “Safe Senders” list. Some details on that are below.

It’s important you see our emails, and they don’t just end up in Junk. When that happens it’s frustrating for you. From this end we can’t see it’s occurred, and that you haven’t received the information you need.

What to do

The best thing you could do is add our domain address to your “safe senders” list. Each provider has its own process for adding to Safe Senders.

Some providers – BT and Yahoo for example – require you to set up a “Filter” which keeps our emails out of Junk. For an official guide to that click here.

For convenience, click here for our domain address to appear in an email.


The LPS  Scotland Team

“Support deposit protection laws”

Green Party MSP Patrick Harvie has led debates in the Scottish Parliament on deposit protection. Here – in his own words – he tells his personal story, explaining why he is so passionate about laws which protect tenants.

Patrick Harvie MSP  

Patrick Harvie MSP


Other politicians who supported the legislation will share that disappointment, but more to the point so will the tenants left unprotected, and the responsible landlords who have made the effort to comply.I was deeply disappointed by the recent confirmation that legislation designed to protect tenants’ deposits has seen only around half of deposits lodged with an approved scheme.

Anyone who has rented (as I did for around ten years) knows that causing damage to the landlord’s property will risk losing their deposit. But the reality is that far too many people find that they run that same risk even when no damage is caused.

Landlords have a perfect right to make deposits a condition for taking on a new tenant, but a minority of landlords seem to consider the extra month or two’s rent as simply a perk of the trade.

Even making it difficult or time consuming to get a deposit repaid can cause real problems; few people who find themselves having to move to a new private rented home can afford to stump up another deposit while waiting months to get their old one back.

So it’s in the interests of tenants and responsible landlords alike that deposits should be kept safe and paid back to the tenant in good time.

“Abusive behaviour”

During my years in the private rented sector, I saw really good practice from some landlords, but also exploitative and abusive behaviour from others. On one occasion, when I was harassed out of a flat by a particularly bad landlord, I was lucky enough to be able to fall back on my family for a place to go.

Not everyone has that support, and if my circumstances had been different I could easily have found myself not only homeless but being pursued for unfair debts.

It’s not always easy to tell the difference between decent and dodgy landlords or letting agents before you sign a lease, so tenants need to know that their rights are clear in the law, and that there is a simple and straightforward way of challenging bad practice.

In a recent debate at Holyrood I called on the Government to explain how they intend to enforce the law on deposits, and what else can be done to give tenants a bit more security and protection from exploitation.

Later this year we’re expecting to see another Housing Bill from the Government, to regulate letting agents. If we’re seeing 90% compliance with deposit schemes by then, all well and good. If we’re still closer to 50%, there’s clearly a need for stronger measures to ensure that the new system doesn’t just give protection on paper, but that it really changes practice throughout the sector.

May 15 – what it means to you

Some deadlines can be ignored. Most cannot. The Letting Protection Service Scotland’ tells you why May 15 is one of those you have to put in your diary.

Nine months in and we are just two weeks away from the final deposit protection deadline for Scotland: May 15, 2013.

OK, so what does that date really mean?

In a nutshell, all qualifying deposits – including those taken before March 7, 2011 – have to be protected by then.

If you are a landlord in Scotland holding a deposit where the tenancy started on March 7, 2011 or before, the law has exempted you from deposit protection laws (provided that the tenancy was not renewed between October 2, 2012 and April 11, 2013). However, that honeymoon period ends on May 15.

So… have you got any deposits which you took before March 7, 2011? If so you must lodge them with an approved protection scheme, and give your tenants the relevant Regulation 42 information.

You can find a link to a template for that information here.

I know there are still landlords and agents who are confused by the legislation; please feel free to contact us for guidance.

For everyone who has taken a deposit after March 7, 2011, it’s business as usual: you have to register any new deposit within 30 days of receiving it.

Remember: failure to lodge a deposit with an approved scheme or failure to give the required Regulation 42 information to your tenant could result in compensation of up to three times the deposit being paid by you to your tenant AND having to lodge the deposit with a scheme.

The Letting Protection Service Scotland is an independent deposit protection scheme, and the most experienced of its type in the UK.  We were also the first scheme to be approved by the Scottish Government.

Visit us here.

Remember, the May 15 deadline is retrospective and therefore applies to all  existing relevant tenancies.

Are you a tenant?

If your deposit has been protected you should have received confirmation from your landlord and from the relevant scheme.

If you think your deposit should have been protected the first thing to do is speak to your landlord or agent and find out what they have done or are planning to do about it.  If they claim to have protected it with us you can check here.

For more information on deposit protection in Scotland, visit

Contact us:  We want to help.

Shona arrives in Scotland


WE’RE delighted to announce Shona, arriving on April 1 – our virtual service agent.

Shona exists to help LPS Scotland users get the most out of our service. She will sit patiently on the Help page of LPS Scotland, waiting for you to ask anything you like about the service.

Once you’ve typed your question in Shona will use the latest artificial intelligence to give you the most helpful answer.

If you need further information Shona will offer you more options or direct you to our online contact form. That form will be sent to our Operations team who’ll respond as quickly as possible.

The Shona service is the twin to “Emma,” used by our sister service The DPS in England and Wales since March 2011.

Since Emma’s launch she has been used nearly 180,000 times and around 9/10 questions are answered on-the-spot.

So… our re-vamped Help page will have:

Ask Shona
Our all-new virtual agent, on hand to answer all your LPS Scotland questions.

Frequently Asked Questions
Our extensive list of FAQs are an alternative to Ask Shona and address 90% of all enquiries. If the answer to your question isn’t there you’ll be directed to an online form which is sent directly to our Operations team.

Have a go, and let us know what you think!

Landlords: Which of these expensive mistakes do you make?

Our workshops try to make it none!


Sometimes landlords deserve the deposit from a property, or a share of it. But when the new deposit protection laws came in, claiming it became a more formal process to make sure unscrupulous landlords weren’t just pocketing cash that legally belongs to their tenant.

Any new process  takes a little getting used to. That’s why our senior team will be touring Scotland in March, conducting FREE workshops on how best to claim any money you believe you’re owed.

Deciding exactly how much should be awarded when the facts are disputed is the responsibility of our legally-trained Alternative Dispute Resolution team. They successfully work their way through over 6,000 cases each year.

Our chief adjudicator, Alex Coghlan-Forbes, will be at the seminars explaining the simple ways to avoid footing the bill when you shouldn’t have to.

The seminars are helpful, and free. To register your interest click here.

In the meantime – to help out – here’s our quick list of common landlord mistakes:

#1 No tenancy agreement.  The deposit claim is based on the contract between the parties.  There is no “standard” tenancy contract, so the first thing the adjudicator has to look at is what was agreed.  If the adjudicator can’t see what the tenant agreed to, how can they say it was a breach of an agreement?

Top Tip: Get it in writing.

#2 No/insufficient check in evidence.  Has your antique cabinet lost a leg since you saw it last? If it was checked by an independent inventory clerk at the start of the tenancy we’re in a much better position to support your claim.

 Top Tip: Have an independent inventory taken.

 #3 Check out evidence not gathered quickly enough. We see check-out reports compiled over a month after the end of the tenancy.  Landlords then complain the property was “dusty” or the garden “overgrown”.  Is that surprising?

 Top Tip: With check-outs it’s the sooner the better.

 #4 Work starting work before check-out evidence gathered.  This can cast doubt as to whether any damage was present when the tenant left, or whether the contractor may have caused the issue.

 Top Tip: Get evidence before it’s destroyed.

 Interested in coming to one of our FREE seminars? Click here.

Deposit disputed... Who decides?

THERE once was a landlady who – to prove her former tenants had left a wooden floor in a filthy state – took off her shoes and dared to walk across it. How do we know?

We were sent the “before” and “after” pictures of the soles of her feet.

Now that deposits must be protected, what do you do if a tenancy comes to an end but you and the tenant/landlord cannot agree how it should be distributed?

Not everyone applies such imaginative evidence gathering as the landlady who removed her shoes. But she did prove a point:

Where there is a dispute, evidence is king.

Before the Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations came into force the only route for warring landlord and tenant was a court of law.

Part of the reason for the new regulations was to create an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service, free of charge for tenants and landlords. The ADR service provides impartial, qualified adjudicators who will examine evidence from both sides and decide how the deposit should be divided.

Being free and completely independent means they’re not biased towards landlords or tenants. The only thing they’re interested in is evidence.

Fair, independent and impartial

If you feel you may need to use the ADR service then you’ll find our Guide to Tenancy Deposits, Disputes and Damages helpful as a useful starting point.

Meanwhile, here are the five key things to remember if you do use the service:

  • Both sides will have their say.
  • The deposit belongs to the tenant. The landlord must prove a legitimate claim on the money.
  • The ADR adjudicator is only interested in evidence. If a claim is made without evidence it is likely the claim will fail.
  • The importance of a properly completed inventory (preferably independent) cannot be underestimated.
  • In using the service, both sides agree to be bound by the decision.

No one wants disagreements over deposits. However, it’s inevitable that they will happen and when they do occur it’s very often because landlords and tenants haven’t spoken for a while; so it might be a good idea to pick up the phone or start tapping out an email before it gets to that point.

But it’s good to know – if dispute is unavoidable – that a free, legal alternative to court proceedings is there for you.

If you have any questions on our ADR service our FAQ page might have the answers for you.

We’ll also be rolling out a series of ADR workshops across Scotland, so please keep an eye on the website for more details.

By the way, if you want to see the foot look below!

Merry Christmas from The LPS Scotland!

It’s impossible to miss that Christmas is just around the corner. However, as you know you can never fully switch off from your responsibilities as a landlord, whether that’s making sure your property is kept in good condition over the festive period, completing deposit disputes or even taking on new tenants. There are a couple of things you can do to make sure your properties are in order, ensuring the safety of your tenants and hopefully a stress-free Christmas for you.

Are your tenants leaving the property over Christmas?

Our adjudication team receives a lot of claims following severe winter weather. The majority are usually the result of burst or frozen pipes at houses where tenants had left the property to spend Christmas with their family elsewhere.

To avoid the stress and expense this can cause, contact your tenants to see if they’re going away for the festive season, to ensure that the proper measures are taken to avoid this kind of damage.

Be aware of evidence submission deadlines

If you’ve currently got a deposit in dispute then don’t forget to stick to your evidence submission deadlines. The LPS Scotland is not extending any deadlines but is making allowances for bank holidays so if you’re concerned about a deadline then get in touch so we can see what we can do for you.

Our Christmas opening hours

If you’re taking on new tenants over Christmas or the New Year you can submit deposits at any time online. If you need assistance our contact centre opening hours are:

Monday 24th – 8:30am – 4:00pm

Tuesday 25th – CLOSED 

Wednesday 26th – CLOSED 

Thursday 27th – 8:30am – 5:30pm

Friday 28th – 8:30am – 5:30pm

Monday 31st – 8:30am – 4:00pm

Tuesday 1st – CLOSED

You can also get in touch via online form or visit our FAQ page.

Finally, a very merry Christmas to you from everyone at The LPS Scotland!

So you’ve protected your tenant’s deposit – what next?

We’re pleased to have seen so many landlords and letting agents protecting their tenant’s deposits in line with the legislation. If you've recently protected your tenant’s deposit, here are some of the key things to consider next: 1)    The Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations require certain information to be provided to the tenant within 30 working days of the start of the tenancy. To make this simple, we have developed an Information Template which you can download, fill in and pass to the tenant. Once filled in, this template contains all of the information you need to give the tenant to comply with this part of the legislation.

2)    When the time comes for the tenant to leave the property either you or the tenant can initiate the deposit repayment process. If you wish to start the process simply visit our website and log into your account, selecting ‘Request a Repayment’. The onscreen guidance will take you through the process and the tenant will be notified by us that they need to respond to the claim.

3)    Repayment IDs are given to you and the tenant when a deposit submission payment has cleared and both repayment IDs must be provided when a deposit repayment request is submitted. Remember to keep your repayment ID safe – it’s unique to you like a PIN number and shouldn’t be shared with your tenant as they will have their own. The repayment ID grants authorisation from both parties to repay the deposit, so make sure you keep it confidential.

4)    If you and the tenant cannot agree on the amount of deposit to be repaid, then you will have the option to use our free Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service. Using this service will provide both you and the tenant the opportunity to submit evidence to back up your claim to our independent adjudicators. They will then make a decision based on this evidence how much deposit should be repaid to each party. You can read more about this service here.

More information about the deposit repayment process can be found in our FAQ pages

Deadline day

If you’re a landlord, it is your responsibility to ensure your tenant’s deposit is protected in a government approved scheme. The Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations state that any deposit received before the 2nd October 2012 (but on or after the 7th March 2011) must be protected by the 13th November 2012.

If you use a letting agent to help manage your properties, make sure you check that they are complying with the regulations and protecting the deposits. If a deposit is not protected the tenant can apply to the courts for up to three times the deposit amount – so it’s important to make sure this deadline is met!

If you are unsure when your tenant’s deposit needs to be protected, you can use our compliance calculator which will work it out for you.

If you would like to speak to someone about deposit protection and the effect of the regulations, our Regional Manager Anthony Cox is available to discuss the regulations, your responsibilities and our scheme. For more information, take a look at our website and FAQ pages.