A landlord who did not secure the deposit of two Glasgow students has been ordered to pay them £2800.
Ajitpal Dhillon was taken to a housing tribunal by Laura Pollock and Rhona MacKintosh following a dispute over an Argyle Street flat.
The tenants had paid a £1395 deposit in May 2019 before they moved into the flat.
But the tribunal found Mr Dhillon had not lodged the money at any approved tenancy deposit scheme.
It ruled the landlord had breached his duties and should pay £2790 – a sum double the deposit. He was also told to pay a further £10.
Ms Pollock and Ms MacKintosh rented the flat from Mr Dhillon for 13 months but, after returning to Glasgow following the initial Covid-19 lockdown, decided to move.
Tenants’ union Living Rent, which supported the pair through the tribunal, said the students’ relationship with the landlord had deteriorated and he refused to return the money.
Following the ruling, Ms Pollock said: “My motive for pursuing action through the tribunal has always been to hold Mr Dhillon accountable and for others to then know of his behaviour.
“As tenants in the lower position of power, we do not see how it is fair for us to be subject to this level of mistreatment from a landlord.
“I urge all tenants who relate to this treatment to get in touch with Living Rent because this case is an example of how we can hold landlords to account.”
Ms MacKintosh said: “The courts are there to protect tenants and landlords alike, however, the process was lengthy and took a lot of courage.
“Without the help of organisations like Living Rent, we wouldn’t have felt able to stand up to Mr Dhillon in the way we were forced to.”
The union said the court process was “the only route left” after attempts to settle were refused by the landlord.
Living Rent representative Rory Maclean said: “With jobs lost and a recession looming across Scotland, many are struggling.
“These two young women are representative of so many in this pandemic – honest tenants who have been pushed into financial hardship by unscrupulous landlords.”
The ruling was made by the first-tier tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property chamber).
Story by local democracy reporter Drew Sandelands
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