LETTING & ESTATE AGENT

Thousands In Unclaimed Deposits

Thousands In Unclaimed Deposits
This month's guest blog post for the Martin and Co #FeatureFri initiative is from Safe Deposits Scotland, a leading authority in safeguarding tenancy deposits, and tenancy disputes.

Safe Deposits Scotland
is an independent tenancy deposit scheme approved by the Scottish Government. They are the only not for profit scheme based in Scotland and also Scotland's leading tenancy deposit scheme. To say they know a thing or two about tenancy deposits is an underestimation - they currently hold 60% of the deposits safely protected by tenancy deposit schemes in Scotland.

At Martin and Co, we are passionate about doing things the right way and are proud to be the largest user of The Deposit Protection Scheme in the UK. The scheme gives both the landlord and the tenant peace of mind that the deposit monies have been lodged in safe hands. All Martin & Co local offices hold deposits under one of the three Tenancy Deposit Schemes in England and Wales and the Safe Deposits scheme in Scotland.

The guest blog post they have provided us reveals some startling figures and hopefully featuring it on the Martin and Co Blog, will go some way to helping those who have money owed to them - lets reunite unclaimed deposits with their rightful owners.

I feel like titling this blog "Claim your free money here" but that might cause our Internet and phone systems to crash, so I'll tread more carefully! When the Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations 2011 were passed by the Scottish Government, no one ever imagined that a tenant wouldn't want their deposit back when they moved out of the property they were renting - but, believe me, it happens all the time!

As of March 2015, SafeDeposits Scotland has 
400,000 of unclaimed tenant deposits. Between all of the three schemes mandated by government, it amounts to over 1million of unclaimed deposits. This is a lot of money to sit unclaimed. The landlord or letting agent will have notified us that the tenant has moved out and either confirmed all the deposit can be paid back or deductions are requested, and, at the end of that process, the tenant should have been paid the monies owed.

But we still have over 1000 tenants, with an average deposit of £400, who have never contacted us to claim their deposit back! And there is no excuse; we follow up every deposit paid to SafeDeposits Scotland with a deposit protection certificate, which is either sent via post or email to the tenant. We have a finance team which is flat out chasing these "missing tenants" to give them their money back, because we simply feel it's the right thing to do.

We send emails, text messages and try to call. We usually don't have a forwarding address. We try every means possible to contact these tenants. Our private detective skills are definitely improving! After every academic year, we have hundreds of students who don't claim their deposit before leaving university for the summer, but they will often contact us or their parents will later in the year, after they remember there is a deposit due back to them.

Once they have provided their bank details, we transfer the money back to them - it's that simple. If you are a private rental tenant and have left a property, which you paid a deposit on, remember to claim it back! If you contact SafeDeposits Scotland when you move out, we will be more than happy to help you with the deposit repayment. We don't want to keep your money.

If you are a landlord or letting agent, please remind your tenant that their deposit is held by SafeDeposits Scotland. If they phone, email or use our Live Chat function, we can help them with the repayment process  which should also help reduce how many "When will I get my deposit back?" questions you need to answer!

If the money goes unclaimed for six years then the current rules mean that we have to hand it over to the Crown. We would much rather the rightful owner of the money, the tenant, gets their money back, so we are asking tenants to think about whether they paid a deposit which they haven't claimed back. SafeDeposits Scotland can help.

You can contact them on info@safedepositsscotland.com or 03333 213 136. Remember, if you are renting a property, landlords are legally obliged to protect the deposit in a government-supported deposit protection scheme, so make sure you choose an agent who is compliant.

You will also find lots of useful information on the
Martin and Co Today blog written especially for you.