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Deposits in private tenancies

Going to the tribunal for an unprotected deposit

If your deposit was not protected when it should have been, apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Housing and Property Chamber).

The tribunal can order your landlord to:

  • pay you compensation up to 3 times the amount of the deposit

  • protect your deposit, if you're still in the tenancy

  • return some or all of your deposit, if you've left the tenancy

You must apply within 3 months of your tenancy ending. It's free to go to the tribunal, and you do not need a solicitor.

Before applying to the tribunal

Get written confirmation that your deposit is not protected in any of the 3 schemes:

When you can get compensation

You can apply to the tribunal for compensation if your landlord did not:

  • protect your deposit in one of the 3 approved schemes

  • protect it within 30 working days of your tenancy starting

  • give you the correct written information about your deposit within 30 working days of protecting it

You can still apply for compensation even if your landlord has returned your deposit.

How much compensation you can get

The tribunal must award you some compensation if your landlord broke the law. The maximum compensation is 3 times the amount of the deposit you paid.

When deciding how much you should get, the tribunal will consider things like:

  • how long your deposit was unprotected

  • the actions your landlord took to fix the problem

  • whether your landlord has a lot of properties to rent

  • whether your landlord has failed to protect other tenants' deposits before

Applying for compensation

You can apply during your tenancy or up to 3 months after it ends.

It's your landlord's duty to protect your deposit. Make sure it's their name and address on the application form, even if you rent from a letting agent.

If you do not know your landlord’s details, check the Scottish Landlord Register. If you rent from a letting agency, they must give you your landlord’s name and address within 21 days if you ask for it in writing.

In your application, include:

  • a copy of your tenancy agreement

  • the amount you think the tribunal should order the landlord to pay you and why

  • proof that you paid a deposit, such as a bank statement or receipt from the landlord

  • written confirmation from each of the 3 schemes that your deposit is not protected with them

If you apply after you've moved out, give the tribunal evidence showing that your tenancy has ended. This can be a copy of the notice either you or your landlord used to end the tenancy.

Applying to get your deposit back

If your landlord did not return your unprotected deposit when you moved out, you'll need to make a separate application to get it back.

Download Form F and the Notes on Completing Form F on the tribunal website.

In section 5a, write:

In your application, include things like:

  • proof of paying the deposit, like a bank statement or a receipt

  • a copy of your tenancy agreement

  • copies of letters, emails and texts you and your landlord have sent each other about the deposit

  • evidence of the condition you left the property in, such as photos

  • the reasons why you should be paid the deposit back in full

Where to send your application

You can send your form and evidence by email or post.


Post: Glasgow Tribunals Centre, 20 York Street, Glasgow, G2 8GT

If you’re making both applications

Send a separate email or letter for each application, even if they relate to the same problem.

Provide a new copy of the evidence with each application.

If you have access needs

Download the inclusive provision questionnaire to tell the tribunal about your needs. For example, if you need an induction loop or an interpreter.

After you’ve applied

Check our advice on what happens after you apply to the tribunal.

Last updated: 9 April 2024

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England