A letting agent in Largs in Scotland has just been successfully prosecuted by Trading Standards for failing to protect tenancy deposits. CEO Steve Harriott comments.
In this case the Agent (Colvin Houston Ltd) had failed to protect two tenancy deposits amounting to some £925 and was fined £750 for the offence.
What is unusual in this case was the case was brought by Trading Standards and not the tenants. The tenancy deposit legislation in Scotland (like in England and Wales) says that it is up to tenants to bring an action in the Courts if the deposit has not been protected.
However in this case Trading Standards used the provisions in the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 to successfully prosecute Colvin Houston Ltd in the Kilmarnock Sheriff Court, claiming that they had failed to meet the standard of professional diligence expected of an agent.
Steve Harriott, Chief Executive of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme which operates in England and Wales said:
“This is a very interesting case that shows how Trading Standards have taken steps to prosecute a letting agent for breaches of the tenancy deposit regulations using Consumer Protection Regulations. Up until now most such cases have been taken by tenants using the tenancy deposit laws and we recognise that for many tenants taking the agent to court can be a daunting task. Trading Standards in North Ayrshire say that they are now sharing their experience with other councils and it is important to note that this consumer protection legislation also operates in England and Wales. It will be interesting to see if other Trading Standards teams south of the border build on this initiative to tackle those agents who fail to abide by the law to protce tenancy deposit.”