The SafeDeposits Scotland team has been out and about across Scotland in recent months, both hosting and attending a variety of events aimed at landlords, letting agents and tenants. It is always good to meet face to face the people who use the scheme, and we're pleased to answer any questions that they may have.

One query that popped up on a few occasions was whether it is possible for a tenant to pay their tenancy deposit in instalments and if so how the landlord should handle the deposit in such an instance. Here we provide some information for landlords or letting agents faced with this scenario...

It is indeed possible for a deposit to be paid in instalments - due to various circumstances, for some tenants this may be the only feasible way to pay their deposit. Payment in instalments is however something that would have to be agreed by the landlord/

Landlords will be familiar with the Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations 2011 and will know that it is a requirement to pay a deposit into a tenancy deposit scheme within 30 working days of the tenancy start date. So where does the landlord stand if they have received only part of the deposit to begin with?

The regulations do not provide any specific guidelines on instalments, however we strongly recommend that the first instalment is transferred to a scheme within 30 working days of the tenancy start date - just as you would with a full deposit. Ultimately an instalment is still part of the deposit so should be given the same protection as any other deposit monies. Going forward, as the tenant pays further instalments, the landlord or letting agent should pay these subsequent instalments into the scheme as soon as is practically possible.

Alongside paying the deposit into a tenancy deposit scheme, another legal requirement that must be fulfilled within 30 working days of the tenancy starting is the provision to tenants of a prescribed information form. Among the points to be covered on the prescribed information form is total deposit paid and the date it was received. Again a first instalment should be treated in the same way as a full deposit, with the amount paid noted on the prescribed information form and the form issued within 30 working days of the tenancy starting. Each time an instalment is paid, the landlord or letting agent should send the tenant an updated prescribed information form reflecting the amount that is now protected.

For SafeDeposits Scotland's part we will also issue the tenant, landlord and letting agent with an updated deposit protection certificate each time an instalment is paid.

Transferring a deposit to SafeDeposits Scotland in instalments is a straightforward process. A deposit account should be created as normal for the first instalment and then that same account should be used and topped up with any further instalments. Separate accounts should NOT be created to lodge different instalments for the same tenancy.

When it comes to paying the second and any further instalment of a deposit, simply log in, search for the relevant deposit account, scroll to the bottom of the Deposit Summary page and enter the amount you are paying next to "Increase protected amount with a Part Payment". Then click "Pay Deposit" and you'll follow the payment process as normal.

Should you have any queries about paying a deposit in instalments, or indeed about any process involved in tenancy deposit protection with SafeDeposits Scotland, call our team on 03333 213 136 or email info@safedepositsscotland.com