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Scottish tenants owed more than £500,000 in unclaimed rental deposits

Staff at tenancy deposit scheme SafeDeposits Scotland are on the lookout for Scottish tenants who appear to have forgotten to claim back their deposits.

When renting out a property, most landlords choose to take a deposit from the tenant prior to the tenancy starting. The deposit gives a level of protection to landlords and means that should the tenant breach the terms of the tenancy agreement, such as causing damage or not paying rent, you, as the landlord, can then make appropriate deductions from the deposit.

Deposits taken on assured shorthold tenancies in Scotland by landlords or letting agents must be protected within 30 days in any one of three appointed scheme administrators in Scotland operated by Letting Protection Service Scotland, Safedeposits Scotland and MyDeposits Scotland. 

According to SafeDeposits Scotland, a small proportion of people, especially students, do not claim back the money that is due to them, and now the tenancy deposit scheme is trying to track those people down by sending letters to forwarding addresses, emailing, calling and texting.

Just over 2,000 tenants have ended their leases without claiming back the money due them, totalling more than £500,000. The clock is ticking and if deposits are not claimed back within six years, unclaimed funds go to the Crown, a process which will start in 2018.

Jennifer Paice, chief executive of SafeDeposits Scotland, commented: “It’s extremely surprising that people can leave their rented property and forget to ask for their deposit back. The vast majority of tenants remember to claim their money but there’s a small minority who don’t.

“Our finance team do a great job in tracking most of them down but there are a significant number they can’t get hold of. We don’t think it’s right that people lose out on what’s due to them so we do everything we can to try and get people the money they are owed.”

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