There are a variety of reasons why landlords and letting agents may claim against deposits in Scotland at the end of a tenancy. Each room of the property also has its own considerations that range from damage to cleanliness. Regular readers of our Key Matters magazine will already be aware of our Household Hotspots articles where SafeDeposits Scotland Resolution Team Leader Samantha Gardner takes a tour of each room of the house and notes some of the dispute reasons that often come up. In this Household Hotspot we focus on the living room, sometimes called the lounge or sitting room, and possible issues that might arise there as well as how they can be handled and prevented.

A great deal of time spent in the living room will be spent on the sofa, whether it’s kicking back and watching TV at the end of the day, spending time chatting with friends and family, or general lounging. In some rented homes, a sofa may be provided, and if this is the case then its condition should be noted on the inventory. From burst springs to stubborn odours, there is a multitude of problems that can affect sofas as well as any chairs in the living room. Different sofas and chairs will also be affected differently, for example fabric will stain easier than leather. Any issues with furniture should be reported straight away to the landlord or letting agent. If a claim arises as a result of damage to a sofa, the adjudicator will study all evidence although they will have to consider the principle of fair wear and tear when it comes to making an award.

As is the case with all other rooms in the property, windows should be returned at the end of the tenancy as clean as they were at the start, and if professional window cleaners are employed at that property, the tenancy agreement should indicate whether arranging this is the responsibility of the tenant or landlord. The same case applies to employing chimney sweeps for properties which include traditional fireplaces. The type of fuel the fireplace uses should also be indicated in the tenancy agreement.

Deposits in Scotland often see claims made against them for replacement lightbulbs. If they were in place and working a the beginning of the tenancy then there should be working lightbulbs at the end too, so these should be replaced if they burn out. As far as electronics go, the inventory should list the make and model of any electronic items and the tenant should be provided with any relevant user manuals, which could help prevent damage to these items.

Carpet calamities such as stains, holes and burns can arise over time. Most of the time stains can be tackled by professional cleaners or by shop bought cleaning products. For irreparable damage however, the correct evidence should see an award for damage made. It’s important to note though that this would only be proportionate to the area of the carpet that is damaged, rather than a full replacement carpet as this could be classed as betterment.

SafeDeposits Scotland is a government approved scheme that protects tenancy 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.