These Regulations, which came into force on 7 March 2011, make provision about tenancy deposit schemes for the purposes of Sections 120-122 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006.
The main objectives of the Regulations are:-
- To tackle the problem of unfairly withheld deposits;
- To ensure that deposits are safeguarded throughout the duration of the tenancy; and
- To ensure that deposits are returned quickly and fairly, particularly where there is a dispute over the return of the deposit, or a proportion of it, to tenant or landlord.
Such schemes require to be approved by the Scottish Ministers and will safeguard tenancy deposits. The Regulations set conditions which schemes must meet before they will be approved and establish the regulatory framework for the schemes.
The Regulations impose duties on landlords to pay a tenancy deposit to an approved scheme, to provide information to the tenant, and to ensure that a deposit is held by an approved scheme throughout a tenancy. The scheme administrator must be a fit and proper person and the Scottish Ministers are allowed to give financial assistance in connection with an approved scheme if they wish to do so. There are sanctions for any failures to comply with the duties imposed.
The establishment of a scheme to safeguard tenancy deposits supports the wider policy objective of raising standards of property management in the private rented sector. It compliments other policies such as national landlord registration, voluntary landlord accreditation and the Repairing Standard, which also aim to raise standards in the sector. To add to this, the Property Factors (Scotland) Bill has now also been approved by the Scottish Parliament and will be implemented by October 2012 or earlier.