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Getting your hands on your deposit

The transition between moving out of a property and moving in to a new one can be a very stressful and expensive process. If you’re moving straight into a new place then finding the money to put down for a new deposit when it’s still tied up as part of your previous tenancy can be tricky.

Tenancy deposit protection (TDP) law was introduced in order to safeguard the tenant’s deposit for the duration of the tenancy and to ensure its fair and speedy return at the end of it. Often the prompt return of your deposit is vital and there’s an agreed benchmark for how long it takes.

How long should it take?

In Scotland your landlord or letting agent must protect your deposit in a custodial scheme where it is held for the duration of the tenancy. At the end of the tenancy you can expect your deposit to be paid back by the scheme within a maximum of 5 working days, once you and your landlord or agent have reached an agreement.

Of course, if you disagree over the amount your landlord or agent wishes to deduct, you can always raise a dispute and an independent adjudicator will work to ensure the fair return of the deposit.

However, raising a dispute is always the last resort as it takes some considerable time and effort by both parties to decide how the money should be distributed; not what you need if you’re looking to get your hands on your deposit immediately.

What do I do?

Providing you and your landlord/ letting agent agree over the return of the deposit at the end of tenancy, you must both then authorise its release. With my|deposits Scotland, you and your landlord will have a unique release code that you must input before we’re able to release the deposit. You can do this either online or over the phone. Once this authorisation is complete, we’ll pay it straight back. Quick and simple.

Getting your deposit back quickly

Almost 99% of tenancies end without any problems and communication really is key. Remember, it’s your money after all so discus the return of the deposit with your landlord or agent in advance if you can and make sure you’re both clear about the likely deductions and time frames involved for the repayment of the deposit. Here are a few tips:

  1. First, always check over the terms of your tenancy agreement as it may detail the procedures for the return of the deposit at the end of the tenancy and likely reasons that your landlord or letting agent could make a deduction for. These are the terms by which both you and your landlord or agent will be bound.
  2. If your tenancy agreement doesn’t detail the deposit repayment procedures or, if you’re not happy, then make sure to speak to your landlord or agent prior to the end of the tenancy to see if you can reach an agreement over deductions and avoid a dispute.
  3. The check-out process is the perfect opportunity to discuss and agree any deductions with your landlord. So if you are able to reach an agreement about the return of the deposit and you have a smart phone or access to the internet, then why not authorise the release of the deposit there and then, shake hands and walk away?

For more information about tenancy deposit protection and more guides, tips and advice see our tenant's Resource Centre or follow us on twitter @mydeposits_scot