Posts with tag: SafeDeposits Scotland

Self-resolution encouraged for landlords and tenants with deposit disputes

Published On: September 8, 2021 at 8:22 am

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Landlords and tenants are opting to solve disputes independently, according to new figures from SafeDeposits Scotland.

This is saving them weeks of waiting and the potential stress caused by lengthy formal processes.

The Glasgow-based tenancy deposit scheme saw cases completing with a self-resolution increase by 11% between April and June. This accounts for 9% of all dispute cases in April, 17% in May, and 20% in June. Over the same period, the number of cases using the free dispute resolution service called Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) decreased by 10%.

Overall case numbers increased by 20%, which indicates that despite the rise in disputes during the same period, more are being resolved independently.

The scheme holds tenants’ deposits on behalf of landlords and letting agents in line with government regulations designed to ensure responsible leasing. This includes the ADR service, with an independent adjudicator using evidence submitted to reach a decision. The process can take up to 12 weeks to complete.

SafeDeposits Scotland says self-resolution is an increasingly popular alternative, where mutual agreements can be made between the two parties, often through a simple conversation. Cleaning costs, unpaid rent and property damage are among the causes for deposit deduction claims that can result in disputes between landlords and tenants. The scheme is urging more tenants and landlords to consider self-resolution where possible to help both parties reach agreements quicker.

Mike Smith, operations manager at SafeDeposits Scotland, comments: “About 40% of all disputes that were brought to us last year were solved independently once the parties understood their options.  

“One of the major benefits of self-resolution is that the disputed funds can be accessed sooner. Once an agreement is reached, funds will be released and will reach parties within five working days. This means money can be available much quicker for those needing a new deposit or landlords looking to pay for property repairs before new tenants arrive. 

“When going down the ADR route, it’s worth noting the decision is then out of your control and could take weeks or months for an answer. Our independent adjudicators can only make decisions based on the evidence provided, which varies in quality and quantity. This means those disputing a case don’t always get the outcome expected. 

“With such a challenging year for the country almost behind us, where we can support people in solving issues quickly and easily, we will. If you have a dispute but you’re not sure on which route to take, we can help advise parties before submitting a proposal to hopefully save everyone time and effort in the long-run.”

In line with Government regulations, SafeDeposits Scotland only refers dispute cases to adjudication when satisfied that the landlord (and any agent acting on their behalf) and tenant have attempted to resolve the dispute but without success.

Over £180,000 of tenancy deposits left unclaimed by tenants in Scotland

Published On: January 25, 2021 at 9:07 am

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Categories: Tenant News

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SafeDeposits Scotland has revealed that tenants in the west of Scotland could be due a share of £188,851, after failing to claim back deposits at the end of their tenancies.

The Glasgow-based organisation is a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme that holds deposits on behalf of landlords and agents. When a tenancy ends and all parties agree to repayment, the scheme then releases the funds back to the tenant. 

SafeDeposits reports that currently, the G postcode alone has 572 unclaimed deposits with a combined value of £153,458, with one individual claim worth £1,950. In total across Scotland, there are around 2,513 unclaimed deposits, amounting to £690,383. 

One Greenock resident, Gary Crawford, was recently contacted by SafeDeposits Scotland about his unclaimed deposit after he left his property in October.  

Gary said: “There was a bit of a mix-up when I left the property I was renting. I didn’t realise it was a rolling contract and due to the notice I gave, I was led to believe I wouldn’t get my deposit back. It was one of those things where I just assumed that was that, and I put it out of my mind. 

“A week or so before Christmas I got a call out of the blue from SafeDeposits Scotland where I was told I’d be getting my full deposit back. It was such a pleasant surprise, especially just in time to spend over the festive period. It was really simple once they had got in touch. I shared my bank details and the money was in my account within the week. Going forward, I will always make sure to check what I am due and I’d urge others to seek advice if they’re not 100% sure.”

In 2020, SafeDeposits Scotland tracked down 1,246 tenants across the country that had forgotten to claim their deposits back. They managed to return £470,320 from the scheme to these tenants. 

The organisation also looked into the quantity of deposits it holds for longer-standing tenancies. The average tenure length for tenancies with deposits protected by SafeDeposits Scotland is just over 2.5 years. However, the scheme found over 4,500 active deposit accounts for tenancies of 10 years or more. 

There are 1,275 long-standing tenancies in the G, PA, KA, and ML postcode areas, with tenancies in both Glasgow and Greenock starting in 1988. While many of these tenancies will still be active, there may be some cases where a tenancy has ended and none of the parties have ever instigated the repayment process.

Mike Smith, operations manager at SafeDeposits Scotland, comments: “Our priority is to make sure tenants’ deposits are safe for the duration of their tenancy, and that both landlords and tenants have access to our dispute resolution service should there be any disagreement over the deposit once the tenancy ends. 

“Glasgow is home to 56,000 private rented properties and it’s predicted that this number will grow to 70,000 by 2028, influenced by factors such as recent high-profile financial services investments seen across the city that will lead to an increase in people looking to rent ahead of starting new employment. But it’s part of our job to make sure that people, including those moving into new houses, remember to claim their deposits back from previous tenancies.

“We’ve found that hundreds of people have left their Glasgow homes without claiming back their deposit, some of which are worth hundreds of pounds. These are instances where a landlord has instructed for the deposit to be repaid to the tenant, but the tenant hasn’t completed the process to receive their funds. We’ve also discovered that there are hundreds of older tenancies, some of which may be no longer active and with deposits to be repaid.

“Moving home can be a busy time but there’s no reason why a tenant shouldn’t claim their deposit back when they leave.”

Over £600,000 in tenancy deposits unclaimed in Scotland

Published On: September 24, 2020 at 10:45 am

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Categories: Tenant News

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Tenants across Scotland could be due a share of £697,554, after failing to claim back deposits at the end of their tenancies.   

This information comes from SafeDeposits Scotland, the Glasgow-based tenancy deposit scheme. It holds deposits on behalf of landlords and agents in line with government regulations.

Renters are supposed to claim their deposit bac at the end of a tenancy, but it seems many are forgetting. In 2019, SafeDeposits Scotland tracked down 2,750 tenants to return £912,418 from the scheme to those who should have already claimed it.

Currently across Scotland, there are 2,418 unclaimed deposits, amounting to £697,554. Edinburgh and Glasgow postcodes have the highest value of unclaimed deposits, with a combined total of £374,081.

The Aberdeen area alone has 282 unclaimed deposits worth £83,095 while 256 tenants in and around Dundee could claim back a share of £58,450.

Over 4,500 active deposit accounts have been found for tenancies lasting 10 years or more. One of these tenancies, located in Peebles, started in 1976. While many of these tenancies will still be active, there may be some cases where a tenancy has ended and none of the parties have ever instigated the repayment process.

Mike Smith, operations manager at SafeDeposits Scotland, said: “Our priority is to make sure tenants’ deposits are safe for the duration of their tenancy, and that both landlords and tenants have access to our dispute resolution service should there be any disagreement over the deposit once the tenancy ends. 

“When a tenancy ends, most tenants claim their money back promptly. However, we’ve found that thousands of people across Scotland have left their homes without claiming back their deposit, some of which are worth thousands of pounds. 

“These are instances where landlords have instructed for the deposit to be repaid, but the tenant hasn’t completed the process to receive their funds. We’ve also discovered that there are thousands of older tenancies, some of which may be no longer active and with deposits to be repaid. 

“There are lots of things to think about when moving to a new house or flat but there’s no reason why a tenant shouldn’t claim their deposit back when they leave.”

If tenants in Scotland think they have left a deposit with SafeDeposits Scotland unclaimed from a previous tenancy, they should enquire with the scheme on 03333 213 136.

SafeDeposits Scotland celebrates customer service accolade

Published On: September 7, 2020 at 8:32 am

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Categories: Landlord News,Lettings News,Tenant News

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Recognised for its exceptional levels of service, SafeDeposits Scotland has been awarded an accolade for the work it has done to support landlords, letting agents and tenants.

The Customer Service Excellence Standard (CSE) has chosen SafeDeposits Scotland to receive this accolade, having recognised the tenancy deposit scheme for its focus on consumers’ individual needs, while providing the highest levels of customer service.

The decision was made after a thorough assessment involving analysis of customer insight, the culture of the organisation, and overall quality of service.

The not-for-profit tenancy deposit scheme displayed several key achievements to secure the accreditation. This included displaying an in-depth understanding of the characteristics of both current and potential customer groups, strong interaction within wider communities and demonstrating the support provided, and continually meeting set standards for timeliness and quality of customer service. 

SafeDeposits Scotland
Mike Smith, Operations Manager at SafeDeposits Scotland

Mike Smith, Operations Manager at SafeDeposits Scotland, said: “We always put our landlords, letting agents and tenants at the heart of our service and advocate for our customers on a daily basis. 

“We know that all parties have a lot to deal with in the rental process, particularly at the beginning and end of a tenancy. This is why we provide tools and guidance for customers to make the leasing process as positive as possible for all parties involved.”

During lockdown, SafeDeposits Scotland adapted and adjusted to ensure everyone could easily access its services while following government advice to stay at home. Between the 1st of April and the 30th of June alone, the team answered more than 6,000 customers calls and handled more than 5,000 emails.

The scheme also introduced webinars for landlords and tenants to ensure relevant information could still be accessed during lockdown. 

Mike added: “We’ve encountered some truly unique challenges over the past few months, so being accredited for our customer service as we emerge from the pandemic, is extra special.

“We’ve learned to adjust our services to meet consumer demand, and will continue working to provide all the support needed as we emerge from lockdown.”

Rent arrears resolution service launched by SafeDeposits Scotland

Published On: August 28, 2020 at 8:39 am

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A new service designed to help tenants and landlords experiencing rent arrears as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has been launched.

SafeDeposits Scotland, the Glasgow-based tenancy deposit scheme, has created this service that will seek to negotiate rent repayment agreements between landlords and tenants. The aim is to help reduce the likelihood of tenants being evicted and ensure landlords can recover some, if not all, of the arrears over an agreed period.

Once a satisfactory resolution has been reached by all parties, SafeDeposits Scotland will draft up a settlement agreement that sets out what has been agreed between the tenants and landlord. 

The system is free to use and is available to all landlords and tenants, regardless of whether their deposit is protected by SafeDeposits Scotland or not.

Mike Smith, operations manager at SafeDeposits Scotland, comments: “COVID-19 has put the private rented sector under huge pressure. For example, many tenants renting in this sector have experienced redundancy, wage cuts, or being put on furlough, leaving them unable to keep up with rental payments. 

“Citizens Advice Scotland recently reported that it had seen a 300% increase in the proportion of advice given on private rent arrears between February and July.

“The Scottish Government introduced emergency legislation in April to extend the eviction notice period for tenants having trouble paying rent to six months. But despite measures like this, Universal Credit and other various government schemes, people in both private and public housing accommodation are still struggling to pay rent.

“This is why we’ve introduced our resolution service to help alleviate the financial pressures caused by the pandemic, and ultimately help tenants avoid eviction and help landlords secure income. 

“From our conversations with our private rented sector landlords, we know many have made significant steps to ease the financial burden tenants have experienced, but there’s still a long way to go. 

“Any landlords that are trying to agree manageable rent payment plans with their tenants should get in touch with our team now. We will do all we can to find the most suitable approach to suit all parties involved.”

To access the service, landlords or tenants need to complete an online resolution referral form. The system will then provide written documentation outlining the attempts to resolve the rent arrears. If both parties agree to engage, a telephone appointment will be arranged where a mutually acceptable rent repayment plan will be discussed.

Scheme looking to reunite tenants with their deposits

Published On: September 1, 2016 at 10:13 am

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A tenancy deposit scheme north of the border is looking for Scottish tenants who have forgotten to claim back their deposits.

SafeDeposits Scotland has vowed to return substantial amounts of cash to their rightful owners.

Deposit schemes

Tenancy deposit schemes were brought in during July 2012. Since then, in excess of 156,000 deposits have been repaid by SafeDeposits Scotland. Despite millions of pounds being safely returned to tenants at the conclusion of their agreement, a small proportion of renters do not claim back money owned.

A large percentage of this proportion are students. With the start of the academic year just around the corner, September is generally the busiest month for deposits being paid both in and out.

Data from the firm suggests that over 2,000 tenants have ended their leases without claiming back money owed to them. This in total adds up to more than £500,000. Should deposits not be claimed back after six years, any monies will go to the Crown.

Scheme looking to reunite tenants with their deposits

Scheme looking to reunite tenants with their deposits

Attempts

The finance team at SafeDeposits Scotland attempt to reunite tenants with their deposit money via a range of different methods; sending letters, text messages, emails and phone calls.

A number of these methods prove successful, however some cases prove more complex. Monies cannot be paid straight into bank accounts, as this information is not disclosed to any of the three approved tenancy deposit schemes.

Jennifer Paice, Chief Executive of SafeDeposits Scotland, said, ‘it’s extremely surprising that people can leave their rented property and forget to ask for their deposit back. The vast majority of tenants remember to claim their money but there’s a small minority who don’t. Our finance team do a great job in tracking most of them down but there are a significant number they can’t get hold of. We don’t think it’s right that people lose out on what’s due to them so we do everything we can to try and get people the money they are owed.’[1]

[1] http://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/finance/scheme-aims-to-return-500000-in-unclaimed-rental-deposits.html