Getting your deposit back
Usually your landlord has to protect your deposit in a deposit protection scheme. The scheme can decide how much you get back if you and your landlord cannot agree. If your deposit was not protected when it should have been, you can get compensation.
Check if your deposit is protected
Your deposit does not need to be protected if you:
live with your landlord
rent from a family member, not including cousins
live in a holiday home
live in a property used by a religious organisation
stay in supported accommodation
have an agricultural or crofting tenancy
If your deposit does have to be protected, there are 3 schemes your landlord can use. If you do not know where your deposit is, contact each one to see if they have it:
MyDeposits Scotland: deposit checker, 0333 321 9402
Safe Deposits Scotland: deposit checker, 0333 321 3136
Letting Protection Service Scotland: deposit checker, 0330 303 0031
You or your landlord can ask for the deposit to be released from the scheme when your tenancy ends.
Steps to take to get your deposit back
Leave the property in a good clean state, check your inventory and take pictures
If you can, do an exit check together with your landlord or letting agent
Ask for your deposit to be returned in writing
If your landlord wants to keep some of the deposit, ask them for a breakdown of the costs they want to charge
Negotiate on how much you'll get back
Carefully check any charges and consider whether they are fair.
Your landlord cannot use your deposit for normal wear and tear. They also cannot use it for improvements that would leave the property in better condition than when you moved in.
Tell your landlord or letting agent how much you think you should get back and why. Give proof if you can, such as:
what was listed in the inventory
what was agreed on an exit check
pictures you took when you moved in
pictures of the property when you moved out
proof that you reported repairs to the landlord
cheaper quotes for cleaning or repairs
If you and your landlord agree on the amount you'll get back, then the deposit protection scheme will pay you the money.
If you cannot come to an agreement
Ask the scheme to decide how much you should get back. This is called dispute resolution.
You may need to show that you've tried to negotiate with your landlord first.
The scheme will look at any proof that you and your landlord give them. A decision should be reached in 20 working days.
You can ask for a review if you disagree with the scheme's decision.
If your deposit was not protected
If your landlord did not protect your deposit when they should have, you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Housing and Property Chamber) to get it back.
You could also get compensation up to 3 times the amount of your deposit. You can apply for compensation during your tenancy or within 3 months of your tenancy ending.
Check our guidance on going to the tribunal if your deposit was not protected.
If your deposit did not have to be protected
First, try to negotiate with your landlord to get your deposit back.
If you cannot come to an agreement, you could apply to get your deposit back through a court process called simple procedure. You do not need a solicitor to apply.
Last updated: 13 June 2023