An Edinburgh landlord has been ordered to pay his tenants three times the value of the deposit on their flat.
A court has ruled Andrew Meehan must pay Ross Fraser and Alison Pease, who rented a property in the city’s Cumberland Street, £3450 after he failed to secure their £1150 deposit.
Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard the landlord had failed to pay the cash into a fund set up to protect tenants. It is believed to be one of the first cases brought by tenants under new government Scotland’s Tenancy Deposit Scheme regulations which were introduced last year.
They stipulate that landlords must pay tenants’ deposits into one of three designated funds.
The new law was designed to ensure tenants do not need to take rogue landlords to court to ensure the fair return of their deposits.
In the case before Sheriff Kathrine Mackie, it was revealed that the tenants had discovered their landlord had not paid their deposit into any of the funds.
Shelter Scotland, which campaigned for the scheme for eight years prior to its introduction, said the ruling was a major breakthrough which should send a powerful warning to landlords who do not abide by the law.
The victorious couple, who moved out of the flat in July, said: “We are delighted with the sheriff’s decision in this case.
“We believe it serves as a warning to other landlords about the necessity of complying with the tenancy deposit regulations, which remove the need for tenants to take rogue landlords to court to ensure the fair return of their deposits.”
Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: “The tenancy deposit scheme is a transparent and fair system brought in last year under a fanfare of publicity and awareness, so there is no reason why any landlord in Scotland should be failing to protect their tenants’ deposits.
“This is a landmark ruling that should inspire confidence in all those tenants who fear their deposit is not being protected to take action and should act as a strong warning to all landlords who are not protecting their tenants’ deposits to do so.”
The housing and homelessness charity says the ruling will also provide added confidence to tenants thinking of pursuing their landlords under the regulations.