We conducted the biggest tenant feedback survey of its kind earlier this year and are delighted with the overwhelmingly positive responses. The 2,842 tenants from across Scotland who completed the survey confirmed:

  • 86% have received a welcome email with a deposit protection certificate;

  • 83% have received a form with key information from their landlord or letting agent;

  • 74% already knew deposits had to be protected by a scheme before we sent them a welcome email;

  • 61% know how to claim their deposit back after they move out;

  • 47% know about the adjudication service we offer if there's a dispute at the end of the tenancy.

While the results show that the majority of tenants are aware of tenancy deposit protection and have received the necessary information from the scheme and their landlord or letting agent, we recognise that more needs to be done to increase these numbers closer to 100%.

In response to the findings, we're currently in the process of setting up a tenant forum, the first of its kind in Scotland. As part of the survey results, more than 600 tenants expressed interest in being part of the forum. Our idea is that the tenant forum will meet twice a year, in our office in Glasgow, to discuss issues about deposit protection and related matters, as well as potential changes to our service. For tenants who would prefer to participate online, we will also hold an email forum, where tenants will be asked to provide feedback on the issues and potential changes discussed in the forum held in our office.

Victoria Nixon, Operations Manager at SafeDeposits Scotland, said “There are more people renting than ever before and it's imperative that every one of them knows that the law is there to help them.

“Our research has found that 26% of tenants don't know their deposits have to be protected. While it's heartening to hear that 74% of those renting in Scotland know what is in place to safeguard their money, everyone should be aware of what should be happening with their deposit.

“When we ran similar research five years ago we found 76% of respondents didn't know that private tenancy deposits had to be protected in Scotland, so while the figures have almost exactly reversed, there is still some way to go.

“According to the latest Scottish Government statistics, private renters tend to change addresses more often than home-owners. 83% of renters have been at their current property for less than five years, compared to 24% of owner-occupied homes. If tenants aren't aware of their rights and the process of reclaiming their deposits, they could be left significantly out of pocket unnecessarily.”

Of course, the reason we're in the exceptional position of protecting deposits for approximately 60% of the market is because of the support of Scotland's landlords and letting agents. While we're delighted to have reached where we are today, we're also firm believers that every business has to continue to grow and develop, which is why we're keen to gain insight from our clients and use their experience to continue improving our service.

To go hand in hand with our new tenant forum, we're also keen to set up a letting agent forum. The letting agent forum will also meet twice a year to discuss deposit protection and potential changes to our service. The letting agent forum will consist of approximately six letting agents, from varying geographical locations and size of business. For letting agents who would like to be involved but can't commit to a regular meeting in person, we're also setting up a virtual forum of around 30 letting agents who we will consult with by email.

As Scotland's leading tenancy deposit scheme, we're in an ideal situation to facilitate discussions which will help improve Scotland's private rented sector for landlords, letting agents and tenants. We know that the best way to do this is to listen to the experiences and ideas of the people who live and work in the sector every day.

If you would like further information about either forum, please don't hesitate to get in touch.