New research commissioned by SafeDeposits Scotland has revealed that over three quarters of people are not aware of tenancy deposit schemes - despite the final deadline for all deposits to be secured being less than two months away.

From May 15th 2013 all deposits from privately rented properties must be secured into one of the three government approved tenancy deposit schemes in Scotland, as part of the Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations 2011.

Despite the imminent deadline, the research shows that 76% of all people polled were not aware that deposits from privately rented properties in Scotland now need to be held in a tenancy deposit scheme, while 55% of those renting privately were unaware of the schemes.

When asked if they knew of the deadline, only one in five (19%) private renters in Scotland knew all deposits need to be safely secured in a tenancy deposit scheme by the upcoming deadline of May 15th.

Landlords who don't sign up to a scheme face having to pay their tenant up to three times the amount of the deposit, if found to not have complied with the Regulations. Tenants have up to three months after the tenancy has ended to make an application to the court. The Regulations, and any financial sanctions, apply to landlords as the person requiring the deposit. This does not mean that a landlord cannot employ an agent to act on their behalf - however, it is in a landlord's interest to ensure that the agent is acting in accordance with the Regulations.

In response to the results, SafeDeposits Director of Operations, Rebecca Johnston, said: "With less than two months to go until all deposits for privately rented properties in Scotland need to be secured in a tenancy deposit scheme, these figures show a worryingly low level of awareness."

"At a time when the private rented sector is growing, we need to provide safe, secure renting, and the new tenancy deposit protection legislation goes some way towards this - but only if tenants know about their rights. We urge all landlords to sign up to the scheme to make sure their tenant's deposits are securely held, avoid financial penalties and help make the private rented sector in Scotland the best in the world."

"Both landlords and tenants can find information on our website"

John Blackwood, Chief Executive of Scottish Association of Landlords, one of SafeDeposits' members, said: "With just two months to go until the deadline for all eligible deposits to be registered in a tenancy deposit scheme, this is worrying news. While a great proportion of our landlords are registered with a scheme, there are those who are lagging behind, or burying their heads in the sand. Come May 15th, that will not be an option."

SafeDeposits urges landlords across Scotland to make sure they are signed up to a scheme by the May 15th deadline. We will be working to raise awareness over the next two months to help landlords avoid possible financial penalties.