‘More than half a million pounds of deposits’ could be claimed by tenants
Tenants across Scotland could be due a share of £697,554 after failing to claim back deposits at the end of their tenancies, SafeDeposits Scotland has revealed.
In 2019, the Glasgow-based tenancy deposit scheme tracked down 2,750 tenants that had forgotten to claim their deposits back. In total, the not-for-profit organisation managed to return £912,418 from the scheme to these tenants.
Currently across Scotland, there are 2,418 unclaimed deposits, amounting to £697,554. Edinburgh and Glasgow postcodes have the highest value of unclaimed deposits, with a combined total of £374,081.
The Aberdeen area alone has 282 unclaimed deposits worth £83,095 while 256 tenants in and around Dundee could claim back a share of £58,450.
The research 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 were more than 1,000 long-standing tenancies in the EH postcode area alone, with one tenancy in Peebles starting in 1976. 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.
Mike Smith, operations manager at SafeDeposits Scotland, said: “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.
“When a tenancy ends, most tenants claim their money back promptly. However, we’ve found that thousands of people across Scotland have left their homes without claiming back their deposit, some of which are worth thousands of pounds. These are instances where landlords have instructed for the deposit to be repaid, but the tenant hasn’t completed the process to receive their funds. We’ve also discovered that there are thousands of older tenancies, some of which may be no longer active and with deposits to be repaid.
“There are lots of things to think about when moving to a new house or flat but there’s no reason why a tenant shouldn’t claim their deposit back when they leave.”