Unclaimed tenancy deposits total £2.4 million

Jen Paice
Jen Paice

Thousands of deposits worth a total of £2.4 million have not been claimed back following the end of private tenancies in Scotland, according to new Scottish Government figures.

There are 8,408 deposits held in three government-approved deposit schemes which have not been returned to the tenant.

Jen Paice, chief executive of SafeDeposits Scotland, the largest scheme administrator, told BBC News: “We reckon that a large proportion of the missing tenants are students.

“Perhaps they were new to the rental market and didn’t appreciate that they would get their deposits back.

“Maybe they were from abroad and didn’t fully understand how the scheme works in Scotland. Or it could be that in a multiple-occupancy let they lost track of who owed what.

“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 cash they are owed.”

She added: “Our finance team work tirelessly to reunite former tenants with their money, sending letters to forwarding addresses, emailing, calling and texting. While successful in the majority of cases, some people are more elusive.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: “Scheme administrators must hold a tenant’s deposit in a designated account until it falls to be repaid at the end of the tenancy.

“If it is unclaimed they must hold it indefinitely in case it is claimed at a later date. Nothing in the scheme rules provides for unclaimed money to be paid to anyone.”

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