Laws to tackle withheld deposits
A SCHEME to safeguard rental deposits for tenants across Clydebank, Dumbarton and the Vale has come into force.
The measures were announces by Scottish Housing minister Keith Brown this week.
Deposits amount to more than £75 million in the majority of the 273,000 households that make up the private rented sector in Scotland.
The tenancy deposit scheme will be free for West Dunbartonshire landlords and letting agents to participate in, and ensure that landlords can legitimately access deposits where justified.
Tenants will no longer have to take legal action to seek recovery of a wrongly withheld deposit.
This will mean that tenants will have access to a free and independent dispute resolution service, where agreement over the return of a deposit cannot be agreed by the tenant and landlord.
SafeDeposits Scotland, Letting Protection Service Scotland and Mydeposits Scotland will take deposits from landlords or their agents for safekeeping and provide information about the tenancy, the deposit and the scheme to the tenant.
Mr Brown said: "Tenants in West Dunbartonshire will benefit from these new, historic regulations because they offer, for the first time, a fair, cost effective approach that safeguards tenancy deposits.
"The Scottish Government has estimated that between 8,000 and 11,000 tenants across Scotland annually have £3.6 million of their deposits wrongly withheld.
"It is important to stress that the majority of West Dunbartonshire landlords behave responsibly. This legislation is aimed at tackling those who continue to tarnish the image of the private rented sector."
Marieke Dwarshuis, Director at Consumer Focus Scotland said:
"Getting a deposit back has often been an uphill struggle for many tenants in the private rented sector and we have championed the need for better protections for years.
"The new safe house for deposits and the independent dispute resolution service are great news for West Dunbartonshire tenants and will ensure there is a fair, clear and efficient system in place for everybody concerned.
"The key to success now is to ensure West Dunbartonshire tenants and landlords are informed about the scheme and everyone clearly understands what their rights and responsibilities are."
This article appeared in Dumbarton & Vale of Leven Reporter 04 Jul 12
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