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“We’ve also discovered that there are hundreds of older tenancies, some of which may be no longer active and with deposits to be repaid.”