Landlords & the Law:
Writing for the Scotsman newspaper, ex police officer Tom Wood explains how his “accidental landlord” friend was meted out a harsher penalty than were a drug handler and a man who assaulted a police officer.
The First Tier Housing and Property Tribunal for Scotland, now responsible for rental housing matters in Scotland, handed out a £600 fine because the amateur landlord friend overlooked the necessity to protect the tenant’s deposit in one of the approved schemes on time.
In contrasted the police attacker was fined £500 and the druggie £420 for possession.
Ex police offer Wood commented:
“Is this the balance of justice we want carried out in our name, is it fair and proportionate that an administrative error be punished more severely that crimes involving violence or drugs?
“But perhaps we also share responsibility, perhaps we should pay more attention, look more closely at the standards of justice meted out by our legal tribunals. In the meantime, the accidental landlords, the ones without the legal back-up of big property companies, should beware.
“From my observation, the Housing and Property Tribunal is heavy-handed, the scales of justice weighted against you.
“The application of the law is meant to be fair and proportionate in all cases. What I witnessed was arguably fair within the letter of the law but it was grotesquely disproportionate. We should pay more heed and not be taken in by their friendly grin,” Mr Wood says.
Even though the landlord openly admitted the transgression, and had registered as a landlord as the law dictates in Scotland, he knew he had failed to lodge his tenant’s rental deposit in an approved scheme within the statutory time limit of 30 days allowed.
This of course as experienced landlords would know was contrary to the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (Scotland) Regulations 2011. Mr Wood explained it had been an oversight by a new landlord, a mistake that had been quickly rectified, and with no loss to the tenant, but seemingly as far as the tribunal was concerned, a more serious transgression than the other criminal offences.