my deposits Scotland User Guide for Landlords and Letting Agents

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1 Deposit Protection for Scotland Supporting you my deposits Scotland User Guide for Landlords and Letting Agents Go directly to the section you require by clicking on the page number. Welcome When to protect deposits Lodging the deposit The deposit release process Dispute resolution Contact us 9 A government approved tenancy deposit scheme

2 Deposit Protection for Scotland Supporting you Welcome to my deposits Scotland Our pledge Free to join and to use. As Chief Executive Officer I m delighted to welcome you to my deposits Scotland. We were granted a licence in May 2012 by the Scottish Government to run a Tenancy Deposit Scheme after an extensive period of consultation. The new legislation may seem complicated and a burden. My aim, and the aim of all of the team, is to support you. Our pledge to all our users is to ensure we make the new law as simple as possible for you to comply with: Deposit money is held in safe, secure UK based bank accounts. Prompt repayment of the deposit money. Fast and fair dispute resolution. Guidance and support when you need us. How we work, in a nutshell We are an independent third party authorised by the Scottish Government to hold and protect the tenant s deposit for the duration of the tenancy. Once you have lodged the deposit it is kept in a safe, designated account until the end of the tenancy. Both you and your tenant must agree to its return by using your unique deposit release codes to authorise its release. If you and your tenant cannot agree over any proposed deductions to the deposit we offer a free and impartial dispute resolution service to resolve the dispute. We are free to use for landlords, agents and tenants as we are able to operate from the interest gained on the deposit money pool held in the bank accounts. Thank you for choosing my deposits Scotland Eddie Hooker CEO my deposits.co.uk 1

3 A quick reminder of the law The new legislation is designed to safeguard the tenant s deposit by requiring landlords (and letting agents acting on their behalf), to submit the deposit to a Government-approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme to safeguard for the duration of the tenancy. The landlord or agent user must also provide their tenant with certain key information about the deposit protection. When to protect deposits Tenancy deposit protection went live in Scotland on Monday 2 July 2012 and from this date all landlords and agents must lodge deposits for protection in order to comply with the legislation. The legislation applies to existing deposits, as well as future deposits taken. Importantly there are different dates for when deposits must be lodged that are determined by when the deposit was received. Protection deadlines for future deposits Protection deadlines for existing deposits Date deposit received: Your deadline to protect the deposit is: Date deposit received: Your deadline to protect the deposit is: On or after 2 July 2012 and before 2 October 2012 By 13 November 2012 On or after 7 March 2011 and before 2 July 2012 By 13 November 2012 On or after 2 October 2012 Within 30 working days of the beginning of the tenancy Prior to 7 March 2011 where: Tenancy is renewed on or after 2 October 2012 and before 2 April 2013 In any other cases Within 30 working days of renewal By 15 May 2013 Types of tenancies The types of tenancy that the deposit regulations apply are the same as those covered by the landlord registration provisions in the Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act Therefore, if a landlord is required to register with a local authority and takes a deposit from a tenant, they must also comply with tenancy deposit regulations. Landlords of the following types of property are not required to register and so will not have to comply with tenancy deposit regulations: Lets to family members Life rents Houses for holiday use Properties used by religious orders and organisations Accommodation with care Houses subject to control orders Agricultural and crofting tenancies Resident landlords Note: The regulations do not apply to tenancies outside Scotland. 2

4 Lodging deposits for protection You will need to provide key information about the deposit when you lodge it for protection with us in order to comply with the law. The main information we require is: Rental property details Property Address Property Details Your landlord details Landlord Name Landlord Contact Details Landlord Address Other Landlord Details Landlord Register Details The deposit Deposit Amount Tenancy Dates Tenancy Details Information about the tenants Lead Tenant Name Lead Tenant Correspondence Details Joint Tenant Details Payment Pay by debit card, bank transfer or cheque Note: It is a legal requirement for most landlords to register with the relevant Local Authority. We must collect information about registration and refer it to the relevant Local Authorities to assist in the identification of unregistered landlords. However, we will accept unregistered landlords, it is not our role to police registration. 3

5 Three simple ways to lodge the deposit Online By phone By post Enter your online account at Call us on You complete the Tenancy Protection Request form Go to Tenancies section Our Call Centre staff will register the tenancy details for you over the phone Attach a cheque payable to mydeposits Scotland for either the full deposit amount or first instalment Select Add Property details and follow the instructions To protect the deposit, payment made via Debit Card Post it to us at mydeposits Scotland, Kingmaker House, Station Road, New Barnet, Herts, EN5 1NZ Complete your preferred method of payment We issue a Deposit Protection Certificate to you and your tenant We will process your request and deposit payment We issue a Deposit Protection Certificate to you and your tenant We issue a Deposit Protection Certificate to you and your tenant An example of the Deposit Protection Certificate Note: Lodging a deposit will take time to clear into our bank account and will vary depending on the method of payment used. By Bank Transfer by BACS or CHAPS - 3 to 5 working days By Debit Card - most will clear on the same working day but can take up to 3 to 5 working days. By Cheque - at least 2 days for us to receive it and then 5-7 working days for it to clear. 4

6 The deposit release process The deposit release process requires you and the tenant to authorise the release of the deposit using unique release codes before we will return the deposit. The deposit will be released within five working days so long as you both agree with amount of deposit to be returned. Either you or the tenant can begin the release process at the end of the tenancy. This chart shows the process if you initiate the process; Stage 1 User Initiates Process Stage 2 my deposits Scotland Process User and tenant negotiate return of deposit We send the tenant notification of the deposit release request* User begins deposit release phone, online or post Stage 3 Tenant Response Enters the amount of deposit to be released to tenant Tenant accepts deposit release amount Tenant disagrees with deposit release amount Confirms the tenancy end date Confirms contact and payment details The tenant can enter into dispute resolution or use Court to resolve issue Enters the payment details Authorises deposit release with unique release code Dispute resolved Authorises the deposit release with the unique release code Deposit released Deposit released *Note: If the tenant does not respond to the deposit release notification after 30 working days then we will release the deposit amount as per the user s original application. If applicable, we will continue to safeguard the tenant s remaining portion of the deposit. Tip: Keep your unique deposit release code safe 5

7 The process is slightly different if the tenant initiates the deposit release: Stage 1 Tenant Initiates Process Stage 2 my deposits Scotland Process User and tenant negotiate return of deposit We send the user notification of the deposit release request* Tenant begins deposit release Stage 3 User Response Tenant confirms tenancy, correspondence address and payment details User accepts deposit release User disagrees with deposit amount Tenant suggests the amount of deposit to be returned Confirms contact and payment details Re-negotiate with the tenant Tenant enters their unique release code Authorises deposit release with unique release code User able to submit a new release request Deposit released *Note: If the user does not respond to the deposit release notification after 30 working days then we will release the full deposit amount to the tenant. Tip: Make sure you keep hold of the unique deposit release code otherwise you will not be able to authorise the deposit release at the end of the tenancy. 6

8 Dispute resolution If you believe the tenant has broken the agreed contract terms (such as unpaid rent or damage to the property) and the tenant disagrees then a free dispute resolution service is available to resolve the issue. The case will then be referred to an independent adjudicator. Any undisputed deposit amount will be released to the tenant, without waiting for adjudication. You must provide evidence to support your claims on the deposit. You may only appeal against the adjudicator s decision if you believe that the adjudicator has erred in law or fact. Tenant initiates dispute User notified of dispute User uploads evidence User submits case Tenant requested to submit their case Tenant views user s case Tenant uploads evidence Tenant submits case User invitied to view tenant s case User comments on tenant s case User submits comment Case compiled by my deposits Scotland Case Sent for Adjudication Note: We have an online dispute resolution service available to all our users. Upload tenancy agreements, inventories and photos instantly and check the progress online, saving you time and money on postage. 7

9 Preparing for dispute resolution Tenancy deposit protection will affect the way landlords and agents let property. The new Regulations mean that if you wish to withhold all or part of the deposit you must provide evidence to prove your claim. Therefore if you provide no, or poor evidence then the adjudicator must award the deposit amount to the tenant. Our experience means we are well placed to offer support and guidance on dispute resolution. The key is to be prepared: Preparing for deposit dispute starts before the tenant moves in, not when the tenant moves out. At the beginning of the tenancy Have a high quality written Tenancy Agreement This is the legal contract with your tenant so ensure it s clear, concise and fair. Badly worded tenancy agreements are a leading cause of landlords and agents losing disputes. Take a written inventory and check-in report This provides a full record of the fixtures, fittings and décor, and records the standard of the property before the tenant moves in. Make sure it s signed and dated by both parties. - Be descriptive and use consistent terms. - The written description is key. Use photos and/or video to support the inventory. - Detail age of items. During the tenancy Keep receipts, invoices for charges incurred during tenancy - Proof of purchase. - Document payments such as cleaning charges, damages, repairs. - Keep bank statements as evidence of costs. Rent payment log book - Accurate record of paid and unpaid rent. Correspondence and witness statements - Keep copies of letters and s between both parties. At the end of the tenancy Complete a check-out report - The check-out compares the overall state of the property at the end of the tenancy with the inventory and check-in report from the start of the tenancy. - Use the same terms and descriptions. - Use photos and videos. - Ask the tenant to attend the check-out. Note: Discuss any proposed deductions to the deposit with your tenant before beginning the deposit release process. Good communication is the key to avoiding surprises and deposit disputes. 8

10 Keep in touch You can contact us by phone, , fax or by post. By phone Our office hours are Monday to Friday 8:30am - 5:30pm (excluding Scottish Bank Holidays) By You can us your enquiry. To ensure we deal with your enquiry as quickly as possible please provide us with as much information as possible and select an address most suited to your enquiry. To find out more about deposit protection enquiries, including lodging a deposit and the deposit release process For all your general enquiries about my deposits Scotland, the legislation and your obligations, For dispute related enquiries, including how to raise a dispute, the evidence required for dispute resolution and the legislative timeframes, If you believe the adjudicator has erred in fact or law on your dispute resolution decision you can request an appeal, If you have a complaint about mydeposits Scotland, our customer service, processes or systems then please us: By fax By post mydeposits Scotland Kingmaker House Station Road New Barnet Herts EN5 1NZ We have over five years experience of providing deposit protection in England and Wales and we are renowned for providing unrivalled customer service and easy to use innovative processes. We are bringing this same support to Scotland. Eddie Hooker CEO my deposits.co.uk MYDSUGP v Tenancy Deposits (Scotland) Limited trading as my deposits Scotland. Registered in Scotland, SC , to operate a custodial tenancy deposit protection scheme, jointly owned by the National Landlords Association and HFIS plc T/A Hamilton Fraser Insurance (the Scheme Administrator).

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