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How is my Deposit Repaid if I've Moved Away from the UK?

Every day at SafeDeposits Scotland we speak to people around the world - often former tenants who have moved back to their home country after a temporary spell in Scotland, and sometimes Scots (both tenants and landlords) who have relocated overseas for a new chapter in their lives.

Our deposit repayment procedure is designed so that payment can be requested as soon as a tenancy ends and - subject to all parties agreeing - monies can be in a tenant's UK bank account within a matter of days. There are, however, occasions when tenants have left UK shores before they've received their deposit - perhaps they're flying home the day after their tenancy ends; there might be a dispute surrounding all or part of their deposit which is yet to be resolved; or maybe amidst all the upheaval of moving they've simply not had time to request repayment or respond to their landlord's repayment request. What happens in this kind of scenario?

Fear not. Borders will not prevent you from being reunited with your deposit. It is however worthwhile taking into account international payment methods to make the process as easy as possible...

Most tenants who are in Scotland on a temporary basis will have an account set up with a major UK bank - this will generally be used for other financial transactions relating to their rented property, such as rent payments and settling utility bills. We completely understand the logic in closing such an account when you know you're no longer going to be using it - we all have enough personal paperwork and passwords to deal with, so taking a minimalist approach to financial affairs is a sound approach.

But... we do recommend keeping your UK bank account open for a temporary period following your relocation, in case of loose ends and - as far as your tenancy deposit is concerned - to ensure that you receive repayment within the quickest possible fashion. When a repayment proposal is agreed to, the tenant will receive the monies in their UK bank account in no more than five working days. It doesn't matter whether you're in Stornoway or Stockholm, Balloch or Bali... the timescale for payments into UK bank accounts will be the same.

International payments - i.e. payments made from a UK bank account to an account in a foreign bank - typically take longer. In some cases you might find yourself having to contact your bank to ask for particular details in relation to international payments. Furthermore there are only specific overseas territories in which we are permitted to make electronic payments into international bank accounts. Most have a number of additional steps that must be taken in order to complete payments, and in some cases - for example China - governments will simply not allow deposit repayments to be made from an overseas organisation to a personal bank account held by one of their nationals. And lastly, many overseas banks will hit you with a charge for processing the receipt.

We do however appreciate that for many people neither electronic payment to a UK bank account or to a domestic account back home is an option. In these instances we still guarantee that the tenant will receive what is due to them and will issue a cheque via post, which can then be presented at their bank.

If you have any queries about deposit repayment, or any matters relating to your tenancy deposit, contact us on 03333 213 136 or

Deposit Repayment - SafeDeposits Scotland
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