Who are you?
What does it say on your business card?
Chief executive of SafeDeposits Scotland
What does SafeDeposits Scotland do?
We are Scotland’s leading tenancy deposit scheme serving the Private Rented Sector – keeping £68 million deposits safe in a ring-fenced account. From our inception we’ve aimed to make complying with tenancy deposit regulations as quick and hassle free for letting agents and landlords as possible. Our online system makes it easy to register tenants’ deposits and request repayment at the end of the tenancy. We also provide an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) service with an independent adjudicator if a landlord and tenant can’t agree on how the deposit should be paid out at the end of the tenancy.
How long has SafeDeposits Scotland been trading?
Since 2012 - we just celebrated our third birthday last summer.
What are your goals for 2016?
Currently we hold 55% of the market share which is a great start but we are looking to increase this and continue to drive the national compliance rate upwards as this is a key issue to the health of the PRS in Scotland.
What is the biggest challenge facing the private rented sector at the moment?
In Scotland, this year Scots will see an additional 3% levy added to the purchase of a second home while the Private Housing Tenancies Bill is being debated in parliament. The challenge here is predicting the implications of the impending legislation changes, and tax changes affecting landlords. Compliance of the Tenancy Deposit Regulations will remain an issue until the sector gets closer to 100%. Any landlord or letting agent not complying is compromising the tenant/landlord relationship and therefore risking the image of the sector as a whole.
What is your greatest achievement in your current role and what made it so special?
From a standing start we’ve built a customer base of 20,000 landlords and 1,700 letting agencies. At present, 85% of the Scottish Landlord Association’s members use SafeDeposits Scotland. These achievements blew all of our expectations out of the water.
What is the most satisfying part of your job?
Providing dedicated, high-quality customer service for our clients. Nobody likes getting through to a faceless call centre worker who reads off a script. Our team is Glasgow-based and handles 4,000 calls a month, answering 94% of them within 30 seconds. We answer emails in two working hours and is the only tenancy deposit scheme to use live chat and text messaging with users.
What is your property prediction for 2016?
As a result of the uncertainty in the financial markets and the introduction of new legislation, I think we will see landlords who hold off investments this year. There will be an even bigger demand for rental properties as prospective homeowners hold off for a more favourable economic climate.
How do you sign up to SafeDeposits Scotland?
House or apartment?
City or countryside?
Modern and stylish or period and original?
Period and original refurbished to be modern and stylish.
Rent or buy?
Rent, I miss renting and have not to worry about unexpected bills.
Kirstie Allsopp or Phil Spencer?