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SDS Resolve: Helping you through mid-tenancy disputes

Disputes that arise at the end of a tenancy can affect tenants deposits in Scotland, as the landlord or letting agent may wish to claim part of the deposit for reasons such as damage to property or rent arrears. When this occurs, SafeDeposits Scotland offers alternative dispute resolution for both parties to attempt to come to an agreement without the need for formal adjudication. While this is helpful for settling disagreements affecting the deposit at the end of a tenancy, SDS Resolve (operated by SafeDeposits Scotland) exists as a free mediation and conciliation service for disputes that occur during an ongoing tenancy.

SDS Resolve is not only free, but it is a completely impartial service that considers both sides of the argument to come to a reasonable solution that both parties involved can accept. The purpose of SDS Resolve is to help both parties avoid the need for taking legal action as well as to sustain tenancies. SDS Resolve can help with disputes such as, but not limited to:

  • Property standards
  • Repairs
  • Entry rights
  • Rent arrears
  • Threatened evictions
  • Breach of tenancy terms
  • Noise/anti-social behaviour (except serious anti-social activity)

Properties in Scotland must adhere to the Repairing Standard. This refers to standards of repair within the property that the landlord has a legal obligation to uphold for the health and safety of the tenant. This includes the level of repair within the property regarding its condition, and all installations, fittings and furnishings that are provided. The Repairing Standard was recently updated to add new guidelines, including the vitalness of safe and accessible food preparation and storage within the kitchen, as well as the property being completely free of lead in pipes.

Landlords in Scotland possess the right to enter any property that they own regardless of whether a tenant is currently living there. They may wish to enter to assess any work in the property that needs to be done for it to meet the repairing standard. The landlord must however give the tenant 24 hours’ notice before entering. Where there are issues regarding entry rights, such as the tenant not allowing access to the property for the landlord, or the landlord not providing the necessary 24-hour notice, SDS Resolve can help.

SDS Resolve was initially set up in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 lockdowns to assist tenants, landlords and letting agents with the growing number of rent arrears cases at the time. The purpose of the service at this time was to find a solution that would prevent the situation from escalating towards the threat of eviction. In many cases rent arrears occur due to a change in income, such as the tenant being made redundant at work and suddenly finding themselves in a position where they are unable to make rent. If the tenant is in such a position where they are worried about keeping up with their rent payments, they should alert the landlord as soon as possible. Both parties should then try to come to an agreement themselves on how any existing arrears can be repaid, as well as a reasonable means of preventing future arrears from occurring. If the parties cannot agree or are struggling to have a discussion with one another, this is where SDS Resolve would work to find a solution that suits both sides.

Noise and anti-social behaviour during the tenancy can be disruptive for neighbours as well as shared occupants of the property, and if not dealt with could lead to complaints. If tenants are causing these problems, it is up to the landlord or letting agent to have a word with them and try to put a stop to it. If a landlord and tenant are finding it difficult to talk to one another about noise or anti-social behaviour issues, SDS Resolve can again mediate. The exception to where SDS Resolve could become involved is instances of anti-social behaviour of a seriousness (for example, threatening or violent in their nature) that they may be a matter for the police.

SDS Resolve can also assist parties when there is a breach of tenancy agreement. An example of this could be where the tenancy agreement outlines that pets are not permitted in the property, only for the landlord to find out that the tenant is in breach of this by keeping a pet.

Many causes of claims when it comes to tenants deposits in Scotland start early on in the tenancy, and so as well as settling mid-tenancy issues, SDS Resolve helps nip these problems in the bud before they progress to a state where there is a dispute at the end of the tenancy which could affect the deposit. SDS Resolve is incredibly simple to use, and a guide on the process as well as other helpful information about the service can be found on its website.

SafeDeposits Scotland is a government approved scheme that protects tenants deposits in Scotland, and is the only scheme based in Scotland. We hold the deposit during the tenancy and return to the tenant at the end of the tenancy when the landlord or letting agent has agreed to repayment. We also provide an impartial adjudication service for tenants and landlords if they can't come to an agreement. Find out more about SafeDeposits Scotland and what we do.

tenants deposits in Scotland - SafeDeposits Scotland
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