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New deposit scheme will protect tenants from 'rogue landlords'

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has welcomed the Scottish government’s new Deposit Protection scheme, saying it will put an end to exploitation of tenants by ‘rogue landlords’.

CAS Chief Executive Lucy McTernan said,

“Scottish CAB advisers have seen many cases over the years where ‘rogue landlords’ have witheld deposits unfairly. People can lose hundreds of pounds in this way. And until now their only course has been to undertake expensive and complex legal action – which most people can’t or won’t do.

“In the year 2009/10 the Scottish CAB service dealt with over 2,200 such cases. It is the biggest single issue that people bring to us in terms of the private housing sector - bigger than rent arrears, for example.

“It is worth saying that most landlords behave fairly. But sadly there are a small but significant number who do not. Until now it has been too easy for them to exploit the holes in the system. This new scheme will put a stop to that.

“The scheme will not harm anyone - if the landlord is genuinely entitled to keep all or part of the deposit then they will be able to do so. Therefore, good landlords have nothing to fear from it. It will however give tenants vital protection from those who will seek to withold deposits unfairly. It is long overdue and we would hope it will receive widespread support.”

For interviews or further information please contact Tony Hutson 0131 550 1010, or 07774 751655.

A number of case studies are given below. These are all anonymous but they have all been reported to CAS by Scottish CABs over the last few months, and as a sample they illustrate the nature of this problem. Unfortunately we do not currently have any ‘named’ case studies.