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Over 200 breaches of tenant deposits’ law, research shows

In the past 18 months more than 200 landlords from across Scotland have been found to be in breach of a deposits protection law, according to research carried out by SafeDeposits Scotland.

Since 2012, landlords in Scotland that take a deposit from their tenant have been required, by law, to lodge the deposit with one of three government-approved schemes within 30 working days of the tenancy commencing. 

Failure to do so can result in fines of up to three times the deposit value, which the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) presides on.


SafeDeposits Scotland has studied decisions made since the Tribunal began hearing cases of non-compliance with deposit protection at the end of 2017. 

It found that £186,657 had been paid out to tenants, the equivalent of more than £900 per case.

Although landlords can be fined up to three times the deposit value, the average award for the cases studied is 1.31 times the deposit value. 

The largest award was made to tenants renting a property in Edinburgh, where the landlord was ordered to pay out £3,937.50, and the lowest was £50 for a property in Hamilton.

Victoria Smith, chief operating officer at SafeDeposits Scotland, says:  “In most of the cases we’ve looked at, the landlord has not acted out of malice, but was either simply unaware of the legislation or forgot, however, that does not reassure tenants or save landlords from fines.”


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