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Millions of pounds in unclaimed deposits have been left by tenants

It’s been revealed that in just one part of Scotland, renters have failed to claim back over £188,000 in deposits at the end of their tenancies - suggesting that many millions may be unclaimed across the UK as a whole.

SafeDeposits Scotland says the precise figure for unclaimed deposits in the west of Scotland alone is now £188,851.

Currently, the Glasgow G postcode alone has 572 unclaimed deposits with a combined value of £153,458, with one individual claim worth £1,950. 


In total across all of Scotland, there are around 2,513 unclaimed deposits, amounting to £690,383.

In 2020, SafeDeposits Scotland tracked down 1,246 tenants across the country that had forgotten to claim their deposits back. The not-for-profit organisation managed to return £470,320 from the scheme to these tenants.

Research carried out by SafeDeposits Scotland also looked at the quantity of deposits the scheme holds for longer-standing tenancies. The average tenure length for tenancies with deposits protected by SafeDeposits Scotland is just over 2.5 years, however the scheme found over 4,500 active deposit accounts for tenancies of 10 years or more.

There are 1,275 long-standing tenancies in the G, PA, KA and ML postcode areas , with tenancies in both Glasgow and Greenock starting in 1988. While many of these tenancies will still be active, there may be some cases where a tenancy has ended and none of the parties have ever instigated the repayment process.

“Our priority is to make sure tenants’ deposits are safe for the duration of their tenancy, and that both landlords and tenants have access to our dispute resolution service should there be any disagreement over the deposit once the tenancy ends” says Mike Smith, operations manager at SafeDeposits Scotland.

“Glasgow is home to 56,000 private rented properties and it’s predicted that this number will grow to 70,000 by 2028, influenced by factors such as recent high-profile financial services investments seen across the city that will lead to an increase in people looking to rent ahead of starting new employment.

“We’ve found that hundreds of people have left their Glasgow homes without claiming back their deposit, some of which are worth hundreds of pounds. These are instances where a landlord has instructed for the deposit to be repaid to the tenant, but the tenant hasn’t completed the process to receive their funds. 

“We’ve also discovered that there are hundreds of older tenancies, some of which may be no longer active and with deposits to be repaid.”

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    Too much trouble for some tenants to send a short acceptance email!

    Before landlords could have deposited the money back into their bank accounts.

    The extra workload put on some tenants now is verging on inhumane!

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    'Landlords putting money bank into their own accounts?' This is fraud, isn't it? Or theft. It is not the landlords' money. Even if a tenant has - for whatever reason - not responded to an email. 'Inhumane'? Bit of a strong word, isn't it? I'd apply that to gross human rights abuses around the world, not to landlords writing an extra letter or email or two.

    • 25 January 2021 09:48 AM

    The money is the tenant's money.
    THEY should be the ones who have to work, and pay costs for any refund of THEIR account.


    David C. Totally agree!

    David W. Where is the word "own"? Only in your fertile imagination!
    It should be obvious that I meant landlords putting the money back into the tenants' accounts from whence it came as used to happen before the deposit schemes were forced upon us.
    The key word is "back". Since the deposits unfortunately never go into landlords' accounts in the first place they couldn't be deposited "back" into landlords' accounts. IF you're a landlord obeying current legislation regarding deposits you should have known that and not misinterpreted my sentences.

    In case of doubt, my third sentence was meant sarcastically and referred to "workload" imposed on tenants by bureaucracy. Landlords are by contrast used to such work and usually undertake it diligently.

    Please read posts more carefully to avoid making inappropriate responses in future.

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    • 25 January 2021 09:46 AM

    Lazy bl**dy people. But typical.

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    DW, So the Deposit Scheme is not working and you forgot to thank Shelter for imposing it on LL & Tenants, costing Tenants loads Money, costing LL's fortunes having to Register it each time a New Tenancy Agreement is done and pay, plus a load of paper work administration and used to under mine S21. What a shame outsiders can't keep their noses out when its nothing to do with them, then again I suppose they would have nothing to do. Why not scrap the whole thing and go back to how it was before being interfered with in 2007, when the Deposits worked well for decades and the Tenants always got their Deposits back directly dealing with the LL face to face and no third party in the middle adding costs and Delay in Deposit return plus the additional quango's associated with it. (it was proven to be less than 1% discrepancy before the Deposit scheme in 2007 now you tell me it's millions of £'s).


    Very well said Michael . And of course as this amount grows and is left for years as one of my formers has with £300, where does this money go? If it ends up being donated to Shelter the charity that house no one it wouldn`t be a surprize.


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