Buchan councillor welcomes law change to protect tenants

Haddington Sheriff Court
Haddington Sheriff Court

PETERHEAD councillor Anne Allan has welcomed the announcement of a new compulsory scheme to safeguard rent deposits in Scotland.

Cllr Allan, who is the SNP’s housing spokesperson on Aberdeenshire Council was commenting on egulations governing the approval of a national Tenancy Deposit Scheme which were laid in the Scottish Parliament. The regulations are expected to become law in March.

The Scottish Government estimates that between 8,000 and 11,000 tenants annually have £3.6million of their deposits wrongly withheld.

Once operational, the tenancy deposit scheme will be free for landlords and letting agents to participate in. Tenants will no longer have to take legal action to seek recovery of a wrongly withheld deposit.

It will provide access to a free and independent dispute resolution service, where agreement over the return of a deposit cannot be agreed by the tenant and landlord.

Councillor Allan said: “The vast majority of private landlords are reputable and most tenants encounter no problems. However, for those tenants who encounter one of the minority of landlords who abuse the deposit it is a real issue so this is a welcome move from the Scottish Government.”

Meanwhile, Minister for Housing and Communities Alex Neil said: “For some time there has been a rising chorus of disapproval about unfairly withheld tenancy deposits. This Government is taking action to ensure tenants receive a better deal.

“The majority of landlords behave responsibly and so it is important that we tackle those landlords who continue to tarnish the image of the private rented sector. The new regulations are streamlined with the emphasis on creating a cost effective approach to safeguarding tenancy deposits.”