Staff at a tenancy deposit scheme in Scotland are searching for thousands of tenants who appear to have forgotten to claim back their deposits.
SafeDeposits Scotland says more than 2,000 tenants ended their leases without claiming money back due to them, totalling more than £500,000.
Jennifer Paice, chief executive of SafeDeposits Scotland, said: “It’s extremely surprising that people can leave their rented property and forget to ask for their deposit back.
“The vast majority of tenants remember to claim their money but there’s a small minority who don’t.”
The scheme’s finance team usually manages to track people down to pay them back their deposit, Paice said.
But she added: “There are a significant number they can’t get hold of.
“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 money they are owed.”
A large proportion of those that have not claimed their deposits from the not-for-profit scheme are students.
If the deposits are not claimed within six years the money goes to the Crown – a process which will start in 2018, the scheme administrators said.
Tenancy deposit schemes were introduce in Scotland in July 2012 and since then more than 156,000 deposits have been repaid by SafeDeposits Scotland, which is the largest of three Scottish Government-approved schemes.
September is the busiest time for deposits being paid into and out of the scheme – the busiest day sees 90% more deposits being paid in than the average day through the year.
The finance team are unable to pay money directly back into accounts as that kind of information is not usually given to tenancy deposit schemes.