Landlord keeps letting agent caught charging illegal fees
The Campaign to Prosecute Landlord Fee Fraud can exclusively reveal that the owner of 61 Elmfield Avenue, Aberdeen has continued to let the property through factors Aberdeen Property Leasing Ltd despite the firm losing a legal claim brought by his former tenants.
The firm were recently in court attempting to defend having broken the law by charging illegal fees to at least four tenants who occupied the Aberdeen home. The Rent (Scotland) Act 1984 makes the charging of such “administration fees” a criminal offense in Scotland. Despite protests that it was standard industry practice, Sheriff Lewis sitting at Aberdeen Sheriff Court found the charges were indeed unlawful and ordered the letting agent to return the funds.
The system of Landlord Registration in Scotland places a duty on local authorities to maintain a register of landlords approved to let out residential property, and to confirm that these individuals are “fit and proper” to do so. Breaches of housing law and any criminal proceedings are relevant factors to be taken into account. We have asked Aberdeen City Council for details of any enforcement action it has taken in respect of the landlord and agent.
Tenants in Scotland have been advised to contact the Police in order to obtain prosecutions and the repayment of any “administration fees” they have paid in the last six years. Housing charity Shelter Scotland has helped thousands of tenants reclaim fees through the small claims process. However, it remains the case that many landlords and agents continue to charge these fees, and many tenants are not aware it is a crime to do so. The Campaign to Prosecute Landlord Fee Fraud exists to advocate for the criminal prosecution of repeat offenders.
The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, responsible for the prosecution of all crime in Scotland, has confirmed that Police will take these reports seriously, and where sufficient evidence exists landlords and agents who have broken the law will be criminally prosecuted.