SafeDeposits Scotland is celebrating its achievement of a a record £80 million in tenancy deposits as it approaches the five-year anniversary of taking its first deposit.
The deposit protection company, which came into being five years ago, is the largest of three Scottish Government-approved schemes and the only one to be based in Scotland. It accounts for almost 60% of the market, and currently holds over 114k individual deposits, amounting to £80m.
The value of current deposits held by SafeDeposits ranges from £1 to £11,500. When SafeDeposits took its first deposit, the average amount was £575.48 and since then the figure has risen to £691.30, a rise of 20% in five years. Between launching and now, the company has paid out over £130,400,000 in deposits. In the last year alone SafeDeposits Scotland has repaid over 87,000 deposits worth more than £37million.
Victoria Nixon, operations manager at SafeDeposits Scotland, said: “Five years on from the introduction of legislated tenancy deposits north of the border, SafeDeposits Scotland has established itself as the clear market leader. Getting to this point is down, in no small part, to the way that SafeDeposits Scotland was set up.
“We’re an innovative partnership of leading private rented sector members, which positions us at the forefront of the industry. ARLA Propertymark, RICS, TDS, and SAL have been with us from the start, and we are thankful to them for their support, advice and guidance along the way.
“We pride ourselves on providing the quickest response times and a system that is easy to use for tenants, agents and landlords alike. Being based in Scotland, our staff have an unrivalled knowledge of the Scottish rental market, with many of them having been landlords or agents before.
“Despite being the largest player in the market, there is still room for us to grow and continue to refine our offering. There is potential for growth in the individual landlord and mid-market rents, which is where we are focussing our business development efforts.
“There are still some landlords who may not be aware of their legal obligation to join a scheme or be reticent to join one, so it is our duty, as an industry, to show non-compliant landlords the benefit of deposit protection.”
As well as keeping deposits safe during tenancies, SafeDeposits also provides free alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services when there are disagreements between tenants and landlords. In the last five years, the company has adjudicated in over 9,609 cases. Over 95% of deposits are returned without going in to adjudication.
SafeDeposits Scotland runs on a not-for-profit basis and its running costs are met purely from the interest it receives from the tenant deposits it keeps safe. Any profit it makes goes to the SafeDeposits Scotland Trust, which awards grants to improve education and training in the private rental market.
Earlier this month the trust awarded its most significant award to date with a grant of £43,500 to overhaul the rentingscotland.org website in the light of forthcoming legislative changes in the private rental being made by the Scottish Government.