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Scottish tenants owed more than £500k in unclaimed rental deposits

More than 2,000 tenants in Scotland appear to have forgotten to claim back their deposits collectively worth in excess of £500,000, according to SafeDeposits Scotland. 

When renting out a property, most landlords choose to take a deposit from the tenant prior to the tenancy starting, as this offers a degree 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, the landlord can then make appropriate deductions from the deposit.

The tenancy deposit scheme reports that there have been regional variations in unclaimed deposits, worth an average of £260. 


Edinburgh has the highest number of unclaimed deposits at 592, collectively worth £149,692. 

The Scottish capital is also home to the largest unclaimed deposit of £1,650 which has been left by the tenant since 2015.

But its tenants in Glasgow that have left the higher average deposit value at £284, which is ahead of the £253 recorded in Edinburgh.


Tenants who rented properties in Motherwell postcodes (ML) had the lowest average value; £152. 

Just one tenant in the ZE Shetland postcode area has not yet claimed their £420 deposit.

When SafeDeposits Scotland last reported on unclaimed deposits in April 2018, Edinburgh had almost twice the level of unclaimed deposits of Glasgow. The average 18 months ago was 802 in Edinburgh and 437 in Glasgow. This gap has since narrowed.

Since the start of this year, SafeDeposits Scotland has returned £645,848 to 1,976 tenants.

Ian Potter, chairman at SafeDeposits Scotland, commented: “There are nearly 2,000 people who are due money that is rightfully theirs from their tenancy deposits and we’d like to help them get it.

“Tenancy deposit protection schemes like SafeDeposits Scotland were established to provide a safeguard for both tenants and landlords and act as an independent adjudicator should there be a disagreement at the end of the tenancy. 

“If a tenancy runs smoothly with no deductions at the end of the lease, the tenant may be due the full deposit back. If the landlord or agent wants to make a deduction, tenants have access to SafeDeposits Scotland’s independent adjudication service to find an amicable resolution.

“There really is no need for deposits to go unclaimed. The process is straightforward, and we have a team of helpful staff on hand to provide support to those who need it.”

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    Who keeps the deposits if they are never claimed

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    A better headline would be that over 200 tenants can't be bothered to reclaim their deposits. These are securely held by a third party, not illegally retained by the landlord. I am often amazed how long some tenants take to reply to a simple email "agreeing" to my proposal to repay their deposit in full. If they are too feckless to ask for their own money back how can they be trusted to keep properties clean and tidy?


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