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Tenancy deposits and rent

Rent Increases

From the 1st of December 2017 under a Private Residential Tenancy, your landlord can only increase the rent once every 12 months.

To increase the rent they have to give you at least 3 months notice, using the prescribed  ‘rent increase notice’ form. If you agree to the rent increase it will become payable when notice expires. If you don’t agree to the increase, you can refer the proposed increase to the local rent officer, this has to happen within 21 days of you receiving the original notice.

The rent officer will make an order stating the rent payable and from which date that rent will come into force.

Deposits

When you move into rented accommodation, most landlords or letting agents ask for a deposit. A deposit is a sum of money which acts as a guarantee against:

  • damage you, as a tenant, may do to the property
  • cleaning bills if you have left the property in poor condition
  • bills that are left unpaid, for example fuel or telephone bills
  • any unpaid rent.

A deposit cannot be used to replace items that are damaged, or worn, due to normal wear and tear.

A deposit cannot be more than the equivalent of two months' rent.

Tenancy deposits schemes

A tenancy deposit scheme is where your deposit will be held for the length of your tenancy.

Your landlord must register your deposit within 30 working days from the beginning of the tenancy with one of the available three schemes:

Most private rented tenants will have their deposits registered. However, there are a few exemptions:

  • if the landlord is a family member
  • life rents
  • holiday homes
  • properties used by religious organisations
  • supported accommodation
  • a house that is subject to control orders
  • agricultural and crofting tenancies
  • where the landlord is a resident
  • where the ownership of the property changes hands, such as when the property has been repossessed.

If your tenancy is not listed above then the landlord will have to register your deposit.

Is my deposit registered?

After the deposit is registered your landlord must give you the following information about your deposit:

  • Confirm the amount of the deposit.
  • The date they received the deposit and the date they paid the deposit into a scheme.
  • The property address that the deposit relates to.
  • A statement from your landlord confirming they are registered.
  • The name and contact details of the tenancy deposit scheme where the deposit was paid.
  • The conditions in which all, or part, of your deposit can be kept at the end of the tenancy.

If you landlord or letting agent haven’t provided you with the above information then you can send them the following letters:

Letter one

Use this letter to remind your landlord that he has a responsibility to provide you with information about the deposit. Create your first letter

Letter two 

If you receive no reply, then use this letter that outlines the sanctions that can be imposed on landlords who do not comply with the deposit regulations. Create your second letter

If your landlord has not registered the deposit or is unwilling to give you the required information about your deposit then you apply to the First-Tier Tribunal for Scotland, Housing and Property Chamber who can if satisfied that the landlord did not comply with tenancy deposit regulations order the landlord to pay you up to 3 times the amount of the deposit paid. 

You can do this up to 3 months after the tenancy has ended.

Getting the deposit back

At the end of the tenancy your landlord will apply to the tenancy deposit scheme for the repayment of the deposit. The application will include details of any deductions and the amount of the deposit that is to be returned. It is a good idea to agree an amount to be returned with your landlord before they submit the request for repayment as disagreements and using the dispute resolution service will make the process take longer.

You will be contacted by the tenancy deposit scheme to see if you agree with the amount of deposit that is to be returned to you. If you do agree then you will receive the agreed amount within five working days. The Tenancy Deposit Scheme will repay you directly, not pay the landlord even though they registered the deposit.

If you think that your landlord has not applied for the deposit to be returned then you may make your own application to the tenancy deposit scheme. If the Scheme does not hear back from your landlord within 30 working days they will repay the full deposit to you, so if this happens it means the process takes longer.

Tenancy deposit disputes

If you and your landlord cannot come to an agreement over the deductions, then you will have to apply to the dispute resolution process. You will need to show that you have tried to come to agreement with your landlord before entering the dispute resolution process.

Tenants do not have to use the dispute resolution process. However, if you decide to do so then your landlord has no choice but to enter into the dispute process with you.

The dispute will be referred to an independent adjudicator, who will receive any evidence that has been submitted. The adjudicator will come to a decision and if you are not happy with the amount of the deposit that is to be returned then you can ask for a review. However, after a review the decision made will be final and binding on both parties. 

The deposit dispute resolution process is a free service.


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