Safe Deposit FAQs

Frequently asked questions about safe deposit boxes

If you require specific information or cannot find the answer to your query, please do not hesitate to contact us.

How are you operating during the Covid 19 pandemic?


Our offices remain open but for ESSENTIAL VISITS ONLY.
Now that we have moved into a second lockdown (Tier4), we recognise the importance of keeping our services open to customers but we urge all customers to make only ESSENTIAL VISITS ONLY to ensure that they are abiding by government guidelines.


To comply with social distancing regulations we will be restricting access to our vaults and only allowing access to ONE customer per box.
Customers should expect that there may be some waiting time prior to entering our premises.
Visits will be restricted to 15 mins to help us manage the number of customers on site at any one time.



1. Please do not visit us to renew your agreement. Customers can pay by internet bank transfer or by debit/credit card by telephone.
2. If you are unwell or suffering from any Covid symptoms  then you must not visit.
3. Please do not bring your children to our premises as we cannot allow them into our vaults.
4. Please use the hand gel provided in our reception areas on arrival and when departing our premises
5. It is essential that all customers wear a face mask whilst on our premises.



Until further notice, our opening hours will be:


Monday-Friday: 9.30am-5.30pm
Saturday/Sunday: 10.30am-3.30pm


Monday-Friday: 10am-5.30pm
Saturday/Sunday: 10.30am-3.30pm


Please note that the last permitted vault access is 15 mins prior to our published closing time.

What is a safe deposit box?

A safe deposit box is a secure locker rented to a customer for safe keeping of valuables. Access to the individual locker is secured by 2 different keys, one kept by the customer and the other by St James’ Safe Deposit. Access to the box is only possible with both keys present.

Why do I need a safe deposit box?

If you have any concerns about the safety of your valuables in your home, you should consider renting a safe deposit box. Cases of domestic burglary continue to rise and the installation of a home safe or sophisticated home security systems offers only limited protection as owners can be forced to open their safes under the threat of physical violence. There is also the added advantage that many home insurance policies offer reductions to customers who keep their valuables in a safe deposit box.

What can I keep in my box?

Customers use their boxes for the storage of a variety of valuable items such as gold jewellery, cash, coin collections, stamps, passports, photographs, house deeds, last will and testament, letters.


You are NOT permitted to store illegal or dangerous items such as weapons and explosives. In addition to this, you are NOT permitted to store items which have been obtained through crime or are the proceeds of criminal activity or money laundering.

How do I know that my valuables are totally secure with you?

Since we first opened our Manchester vaults for business in October 1912, we have never had a break-in nor have any of our depositors suffered a loss. We use an external security consultant to review our security systems and procedures on a regular basis. We employ the latest electronic surveillance equipment and alarm systems including remote CCTV monitoring and recording 24/7. Security is at the heart of our business and systems are reviewed and enhanced on a regular basis.

What do I need to open an account with you?

We will require photographic proof of identity from your passport or driving licence. We also require proof of your residential address from one of the following documents; bank statement, utility bill, HMRC letter (less than 6 months old) or a council tax bill for the current year. (These documents will be scanned and you will not be asked to provide them again unless there is a change in your circumstances or a change in your Agreement with us)


Click here to see a complete list of all acceptable photo id and address documents


To open a new account we operate an appointment system:

  • For New Customers wanting to open an account in Manchester, please call 0161 236 4177.
  • For New Customers wanting to open an account in Leeds, please call 0113 243 2129.


If you visit us to open a new account you should allow between 30-40 mins to complete the registration process.


Please note: Customers arriving to open an account without an appointment will still be dealt with where possible but if it is exceptionally busy they may be required to wait or we may not have time to complete the account opening process. To avoid disappointment we would urge all prospective customers to book an appointment prior to visiting us to open a new account.

Can other people have access to my safe deposit box?

A Safe Deposit Box can have between 1 and 4 people attached to it. (The first 2 renters are free and thereafter there is a £25 charge per additional renter)


For example, there could be:

1) a Primary Renter, a Joint Primary Renter and 2 Secondary Renters
2) a Primary Renter and 3 Secondary Renters.
3) a Primary Renter
4) a Primary Renter and a Joint Primary Renter


There is an important difference between a Joint Primary Renter and a Secondary Renter which is especially relevant in the event that the Primary Renter should die.


In the event of the Primary Renters death:
– a Joint Primary can assume the role of Primary Renter and continue to access the box and can appoint a new Joint Primary.
– a Secondary Renter will not be permitted any further access to the box until probate is granted.


You can nominate one other person to be a Joint Primary Renter on your box. This means that they have identical rights to you over the box (joint and several liability) and both parties sign the Agreement with St James Safe Deposit.


Please note that where you have a Joint Primary Renter then either of you can take the following actions without the other being present:
a) upgrade or downgrade the box
b) instruct for the box to be drilled open if the key is lost or mislaid
c) issue notice to terminate the Agreement
d) add or remove a Secondary Renter
e) access/ and or remove the contents of the Box independently of the other.


It is important to note that neither a Primary Renter or a Joint Primary Renter can be removed from the Agreement without both parties being present at our offices.


Any person who you wish to nominate as a Joint Primary Renter or Secondary Renter will need to visit our vaults with you (the Primary renter) and provide full proof of identity and proof of address to be registered onto our system.


A secondary renter has restricted rights to the box in that he can only access it if supplied with a key by the Primary Renter. He is unable to take any of the actions described in a,b,c,d (noted above).


Only one key is provided in Manchester (2 in Leeds) and it is up to the Primary Renter to decide who has access to the key.


Please note that nobody under the age of 18 can be registered to use a safe deposit box.

How much does your service cost and how do I pay?

You will pay the cost of the safe deposit box rental:
Manchester Box Prices
Leeds Box Prices


On top of this we levy a refundable key deposit to open your new account.


For Manchester customers the key deposit is £80 – this is for the single key which is issued with each Safe Deposit Box.


For Leeds customers the key deposit is £100 – this is for 2 keys and an RFID swipe card.


This deposit is fully refundable when you close your account with us and return any keys or (for Leeds customers only) RFID cards.

How do I change the size of my box, add a renter or remove a renter from my account?

Please note that you will need to book a 30 minute appointment if you wish to make any of the following changes:


Adding a renter to your account
Removing a renter from your account
Changing the size of your safe deposit box


To make an appointment with our Manchester office please call 0161 236 4177

To make an appointment with our Leeds office please call 0113 243 2129


Please note: Customers arriving without an appointment will still be dealt with where possible but if it is exceptionally busy they may be required to wait or we may not have time to process any changes to their account. To avoid disappointment, we would urge all customers to book an appointment if they wish to make any of the above changes to their account.

What do I do to renew or cancel my contract with you?

Approximately one month before your contract expires we will send you an e-mail or letter, inviting you to renew your contract for a further 12 month period.


You can pay your renewal rental by cheque, cash, debit card, credit card or internet payment.


If you do not wish to renew, all keys and access cards (Leeds only) must be returned to us in person or by registered post before the date your contract expires.

What happens if I don't pay my rental renewal on time?

If your account is in arrears we will not permit you to access your box until the arrears are cleared.


Please note that interest is charged on all overdue accounts.


If you simply fail to renew then, after due notice, we will instruct our locksmiths to drill open your box (at your expense) and may dispose of the contents.

Why don't you include insurance cover within the safe rental price?

St. James’ Safe Deposit is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as a Safe Deposit business but this does not authorise us to sell insurance cover to our customers. The sale of insurance products is strictly regulated by the FCA.


Each customer who rents a safe deposit box will have different requirements in terms of insurance cover depending on the nature and value of the contents of his/her safe.


Customers will usually choose one of 3 options:


1. No Insurance Required : For many customers, the physical and electronic security measures that we offer within our vaults provide them with peace of mind and they do not see the need for a separate insurance policy.


2. Home Contents Insurance: For other customers, their existing home contents insurance policy provides cover for items held in a safe deposit box. We would always suggest that you notify your existing home contents provider that you are holding valuables in a safe deposit centre as this will often result in a lower insurance premium.  A number of customers have advised us that informing their insurer that they were holding items in a safe deposit resulted in a decrease in the premium that was so significant that it covered the cost of the safe deposit box rental.


3. Specialist Insurance Cover: There are customers who want specific insurance on the contents of their safe deposit box and we work alongside Ellerton Knight, a specialist insurer who offer cover on safe deposit boxes. To get an instant quote from Ellerton Knight click here.

What happens if I lose the key to my safe deposit box in MANCHESTER?

In our Manchester branch, customers are issued with a single key to their safe deposit box.


If you lose your key, you will need to make an appointment with us in advance to visit St James Safe Deposit. We will arrange for our locksmith to be present who will break open your safe deposit box.


You will be liable for the £180 break open charge which covers the locksmiths call out charge and the cost of replacing the lock.

What happens if I lose the key to my safe deposit box in LEEDS?

In our Leeds branch, customers are issued with 2 identical keys and an access swipe card. It is not possible to duplicate these keys – they cannot be copied.


If you lose the Access Card: £15 for a replacement card.

You should notify us immediately so we can put a block on the card.


Replacement Lock (if you lose 1 key) : £100 – for a new lock including 2 keys.

You should notify us immediately so we can put a block on the account.


You will then need to make an appointment with us in advance to visit St James Safe Deposit in order to fit a new lock on your box.


Drill-out lock (if you lose 2 keys) : £180 – per lock including new lock and keys.

Drill outs subject to availability of our locksmith (available Monday-Friday).


You will need to make an appointment with us in advance to visit St James Safe Deposit. We will arrange for our locksmith to be present and he will drill open your safe deposit box.


You will be liable for the £180 break open charge which covers the locksmith call-out charge and the cost of replacing the lock.

What happens in the event of my death?

Where you are the sole Primary Renter
Where you are the sole renter on the box (i.e. there is no secondary renter), the person reporting your death should bring a copy of the death certificate to our offices. The certificate will be scanned into our system and returned. No further access will be permitted to the box and no items can be removed until probate is granted or letters of administration are produced.


Where you have a Joint Primary Renter
We will need to see a death certificate confirming death of the Primary Renter and the Joint Primary Renter would normally assume the role of Primary Renter. He/she  is then able to appoint a new Joint Primary Renter if he choses to do so. The Joint Primary Renter continues to have full unrestricted access to the box.


Where you have a Secondary Renter (but no Joint Primary)
The secondary renter should produce a death certificate which we will scan into our system and return.  Access to the safe deposit box will only be granted once Probate has been granted, or Letters of Administration produced. Your account will then be closed and should a secondary renter wish to continue to keep valuables at St James Safe Deposit, he will be asked to open a new account in his own name.

What are your Terms and Conditions for your rental agreement?


PLEASE NOTE: All customers have now been migrated to our latest (May 2018) T&C’s. 


The Key Changes between the May 2018 version and any previous versions are:


Incorporating GDPR (Data protection) Updates
The updating of section 13 relating to Data Protection to incorporate the changes introduced as a result of the May 2018 GDPR legislation.


The Introduction of a Joint Rental Concept
Experience has shown us that, in the event of the death of the primary renter, issues can arise when ONLY ONE person has control over the Safe Deposit Box (as in our existing T&C’s). In this situation we are obliged to freeze all access to the box to secondary renters until a grant of probate or letters of administration are presented to us.


The May 2018 T&C’s will allow TWO people to have joint and several control over the safe deposit box. They will both be named on the Agreement. Where one of these “joint” primary renters dies then the other will be able to continue to access the box and appoint a replacement “joint” primary renter if they wish to.


If you have any queries relating to our T&C’s please don’t hesitate to ask a member of our staff for further explanation.


Click here to open a PDF showing our Terms and Conditions

Customer Referral Scheme - how does it work?

An existing customer who refers a new customer to St James’ Safe Deposit in either Manchester or Leeds will be entitled to 2 additional free months rental. The new customer will be awarded 1 additional months free rental.


This offer is only valid when  the new customer presents the referral voucher (given to him by the existing customer) at the time that a new agreement is opened.


Please note that referral vouchers are only valid when used against new annual contracts (i.e. not against 3 and 6 month agreements ) and they cannot be used in conjunction with other special offers.


Click here to open a PDF showing the full terms and conditions relating to Referral Vouchers

Where can I see your privacy policy?

Your privacy is important to St James Safe Deposit Company and we take our responsibility towards the security of your personal information very seriously.


We are committed to protecting your personal information and to being open and transparent about what information we collect and what we do with it.


Click here to open a PDF which shows our Privacy Policy which has been updated to comply with the new data protection legislation (GDPR) which took effect from 25th May 2018.

Do You Allow Children Admission to the Vault?

COVID 19 POLICY  – We regret that we will not be allowing any children on to our premises for the duration of the pandemic. This decision has been taken as part of our enhanced security measures which are focused on the safety of our staff and customers.

Non Covid 19 Policy
Children aged 11 years and below may accompany their parents into the vault.

Children aged 12 and above will not be allowed into the vault and will be expected to wait in the reception area.


We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and if you have any further questions relating the above then please don’t hesitate to speak directly to the General Manager.

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