Tips for tenants: How to claim your deposit back

24. Tips for tenants How to claim your deposit back

s1homes welcomes Jen Paice, CEO of SafeDeposits Scotland in the second of two guest blogs.

Please note ‘landlord’ also applies to letting agents in this post, as the person acting on the landlord’s behalf.

If you rent your home and pay a deposit, your landlord legally must protect your money with a tenancy deposit scheme. The scheme will hold your deposit to keep it safe. At the end of the tenancy, you must complete these steps before the scheme can repay you.

Before you move out:

  1. Speak to your landlord about the deposit

You should speak to your landlord to reach an agreement on how the deposit should be repaid – for example, should the full deposit be repaid to you, or should any be paid to the landlord for unpaid rent, cleaning, etc.?

  1. Double-check who the lead tenant is

If you live with other people, your landlord picked one of you as the lead tenant for your deposit: that person is responsible for entering or responding to a repayment request. The scheme sent you a welcome email or letter when your deposit was first protected with them which confirms who the lead tenant for your deposit is.

  1. Make sure the scheme has your up-to-date contact details

The scheme must be able to contact you after you move out, so it’s essential you make sure they have your email or forwarding address. You can check your contact details are correct – or update them if they’re not – by logging in to the scheme’s website, or by contacting them by phone or email. Your welcome email or letter also confirms your log in details for the scheme’s website.

After you move out:

  1. Contact the scheme

As soon as you move out, the lead tenant can contact the scheme to start the repayment process. They can do this online or by phone or email. The lead tenant needs to tell the scheme if the full deposit should be repaid to the tenant(s) or if any should be paid to the landlord. The scheme will contact the landlord to ask if they agree or disagree with the lead tenant’s request.

  1. Provide your bank details

If you’re not the lead tenant for your deposit, you still need to provide your bank details to the scheme so they can repay any amount of the deposit which is due to you. You can do this online or by phone or email.

If the lead tenant doesn’t contact the scheme:

  1. Respond to the landlord’s request

The landlord can also start the repayment process by contacting the scheme first. The scheme will contact the tenant(s) to confirm how the landlord has said the deposit should be repaid. The lead tenant must contact the scheme to confirm if they agree or disagree with the landlord’s request. As before, the non-lead tenant(s) must provide their bank details for repayment.

If the lead tenant and landlord agree, the scheme will repay the deposit within 5 working days. In a small number of repayments, the lead tenant and landlord can’t agree – if this happens, the scheme’s offer an adjudication service to help. This means an independent adjudicator will decide how the deposit should be repaid based on information provided by the lead tenant and landlord.


Jen Paice is CEO of SafeDeposits Scotland. SafeDeposits is Scotland’s favourite tenancy deposit scheme, protecting deposits for approximately 60% of the market. They’re the only scheme which is not-for-profit and based in Scotland. You can find out more about the repayment process and adjudication service on their website.

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