Scottish tenants ‘forget half a million pounds in unclaimed deposits’
Scottish tenants could be due hundreds of pounds as SafeDeposits Scotland revealed that nearly 2,000 renters haven’t claimed tenancy deposits worth over £500,000.
Worth an average of £260, the tenancy deposit protection scheme found regional variations in unclaimed deposits.
Tenants in Edinburgh topped the table for the highest number of unclaimed deposits at 592, worth £149,692. The number of tenants failing to claim their money back in Edinburgh represents 2.01% of tenants in the city whose deposits are registered with SafeDeposits Scotland.
The capital is also home to the largest unclaimed deposit of £1,650 which has been left by the tenant since 2015.
At the other end of the M8, tenants in Glasgow left a higher average deposit value than those in Edinburgh; £284 and £253 respectively.
Tenants who rented properties in Motherwell postcodes (ML) had the lowest average value; £152. Only one tenant in the ZE Shetland postcode area hasn’t yet claimed their £420 deposit.
When SafeDeposits Scotland last reported on unclaimed deposits 18 months ago (April 2018), Edinburgh had almost twice the level of unclaimed deposits of Glasgow (802 in Edinburgh and 437 in Glasgow), a gap that has since narrowed.
Under the Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations 2011, landlords who take a deposit from tenants must register it with a government-approved scheme like SafeDeposits Scotland within 30 working days of the tenancy starting. At the end of the tenancy, the landlord can request deductions, which the tenant can challenge through an impartial alternative dispute resolution process. Tenants must contact the scheme their deposit is protected with to ensure the return of their money.
Set up with backing from RICS, Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL), Association for Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) and The Dispute Service, SafeDeposits Scotland is the only deposit protection scheme that operates on a not-for-profit basis. It also proactively seeks to reunite tenants with their unclaimed deposits, and since the start of this year has returned £645,848 to 1,976 tenants.
Ian Potter, chairman at SafeDeposits Scotland, said: “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.
“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.”