It’s getting to that time of year. Exams have begun and your imminent move is getting closer. The Student spoke to Charlene from SafeDeposits Scotland and she gave us some straightforward deposit related advice.
Why do property owners submit the deposits to a third party?
If you rent your home and pay a deposit your landlord or letting agent is legally required to protect your money with a tenancy deposit scheme, such as SafeDeposits, to keep it safe. They also have to provide you with certain key information, including the name and contact details of the scheme. If your landlord or agent doesn’t protect your money or provide you with the required information, you can apply to the Sheriff Court for financial penalties. The Sheriff can order the landlord to pay you up to three times the amount of the deposit for non-compliance.
What are the stages involved in claiming back your deposit?
When your deposit is transferred to SafeDeposits, we will email you your login details for our website. If you live with other people, we’ll also confirm which person is the lead tenant. The lead tenant is responsible for responding to or entering a repayment request when the tenancy ends.
After you move out, the landlord or agent will usually log in to our website and enter a repayment request first. This will confirm if they want the full deposit repaid to you and your flatmates, or if they want to keep any for unpaid rent, damage, etc. We’ll email you a copy of their request. If you’re the lead tenant, you should log in to our website to agree or disagree with the request.
If you’re not the lead tenant, you should log in to add your bank details. If the lead tenant agrees with the request, we’ll repay the deposit within five working days.
What if the landlord or agent doesn’t start the repayment?
The lead tenant can log in to our website and enter a repayment request first. We’ll email a copy of the lead tenant’s request to the landlord or agent to ask if they agree or disagree. In the same way as before, if the landlord or agent agrees with the request, we’ll repay the deposit within five working days.
Don’t forget, if you’re not the lead tenant, you still need to log in to add your bank details!
What are some examples of damage that could result in the loss of a deposit?
Cleaning and damage are the most common reasons for landlords deducting money from deposits, which is why the inventory is so important. In excitement of moving in, a dirty shower cubicle or broken light switch might not seem important, but if it’s not recorded in the inventory, you could end up being charged for it after you move out. Check the inventory carefully when you move in and add comments if anything is dirty, broken or worn out.
What happens if the landlord or agent wants to deduct money which you think is unfair?
When the lead tenant logs in to disagree with the request, they can refer the repayment to our adjudication service. This means we’ll ask you and your landlord or agent for further information about the tenancy. An impartial person will make a decision on what repayment is fair based on that information.
Is there a way for students to appeal if they believe that the decision was not fair?
Yes, if you think the decision is unfair, you can request a review as part of the adjudication process.
How long does the process of getting your deposit back take?
The repayment process is fastest when the repayment request and response are entered as soon as possible. For example, your landlord or agent can enter a repayment request and you can respond to it on the same day you move out, which means we’d repay the deposit within five working days. However, when someone enters a repayment request, the other person has 30 working days to respond, so it can take significantly longer – which is why completing the steps as soon as possible is so important.
You can help speed up the process by speaking to your landlord or agent before you move out to reach an agreement on how the deposit should be repaid. You can also log in to our website at any time to make sure we have your correct email address to contact you about the repayment.