In part 2 of Anthony’s blog, he runs through some of the common questions asked during our free drop in sessions:
For anyone that wasn’t able to visit us during one of our free drop in sessions, we thought it would be useful to list the answers to some of the most common questions we are asked. If you have any questions that aren’t answered here or you just want to find out more about us or the effect of the Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations 2011 (the legislation), you can always check out our FAQ pages, or email me.
Q. Your service is free - what’s the catch?
A. The legislation specifies that all schemes must operate a free to use service for landlords, agents and tenants: there isn’t a catch! Interest earned on the protected deposits pays for the running costs of the scheme.
Q. I have a portfolio of properties for which I receive the interest from the deposit funds. Will you pay me interest as otherwise this system is a cost to me?
A. The legislation ordered deposit protection schemes to be custodial only, which means we hold your tenant’s deposit for you. We are unable to pay the interest to you at this time.
Q. Why aren’t you affiliated with any landlord or tenant associations?
A. We welcome members who are affiliated to a landlord or tenant association, but we pride ourselves on offering a completely independent and impartial service open to all.
Q. Will you come and visit my property should there be a dispute between myself and my tenant?
A. This is not possible. The landlord and tenant must supply comprehensive relevant evidence to back up their claim or defence in the event of a dispute. The adjudicators will never visit a property and it is unlikely that they will contact you to question your evidence submission. We welcome all evidence submitted to us, and the landlady who took a photo of her bare feet to demonstrate how the hard floor in her apartment had not been cleaned was certainly innovative....
Q. I need the deposits for cash flow. I just had to pay for a new boiler in the property and now can’t afford to lodge the deposit.
A. The deposit was never yours to use; the money belongs to the tenant until the end of the tenancy (when the landlord or letting agent may make a claim for some or all of it, depending on the terms of the lease), and provided that, in the above case, they can prove that the boiler had to be replaced because of the tenant’s actions. As such you will still need to protect the deposit to comply with the new legislation; failure to do so may result in you paying compensation of up to three times the deposit amount to your tenant.
Q. How is the system policed?
A. The legislation, together with the terms and conditions of the LPS Scotland, provide ways for information to be provided between landlord and tenant, and for any disputes to be resolved. For example, tenants may apply to the courts for up to three times their deposit amount should their agent or landlord fail to lodge their deposit on time and supply them with the required information (Regulation 42). Such an application may be made up to three months after the tenancy has ended.
Q. You have a sample template on your website for me to give to my tenant covering the required information they need to know. Should I be providing my tenant with anything else to comply with the legislation?
A. The required information template (Regulation 42) contains everything the tenant needs to be aware of according to the legislation. When funds are lodged against your property’s deposit we also supply you and your tenant with confirmation that the deposit is protected.
Q. If my tenant doesn’t pay the last month’s rent, how do I claim from the deposit?
A. At the end of the tenancy you can apply to your deposit protection scheme to retain some or all of the deposit, as long as the lease states that you can recover non-payment of the rent from the deposit. You can find out further information about this process on our website.
Q. What experience do you have in understanding the issues that landlords and letting agents in Scotland face?
A. I have been in the residential property industry for 25 years in Scotland. I have faced the problems that you face and know your concerns. Our system has been set up to help you, not only with administration but also to help alleviate your tenants’ concerns.
Anthony operates from The LPS Scotland’s Edinburgh office.