Systematic white collar fraud perpetrated by letting agencies against tenants in Scotland, costing hard working renters millions of pounds.
With apparent impunity as none have yet been prosecuted for these crimes.
The majority of letting agents in Scotland have been charging unfair, abusive, and illegal fees – known as “premiums” – to tenants as a matter of course. They may have called these charges “administration”, “referencing”, or “credit check” fees.
Tenants are deceived into thinking that payment of these fees is necessary in order for them to apply to rent a home. Letting agents also falsely represent that these fees are their cost of doing business, while omitting to mention that they have received compensation from the landlord for marketing and managing the property.
In effect, letting agents have got away with charging twice for the same work, and pocketing the difference. Even though the law is clear that doing so is a crime and has been for nearly 30 years.
Moving house is expensive, and renters are often those who have been excluded from home ownership due to their financial status. This illegal behaviour breaches the fundamental rights of renters by erecting significant financial barriers to securing shelter – an exploitative practice perpetrated by those fortunate enough to own more than one home. Due to their financial advantages, the landed classes have successfully secured an arrangement where they are free both to break the law and keep the profits they make. For landlords in Scotland, crime does pay. Who is brave and resourceful enough to stand against this injustice? We need YOUR help.
What are we doing about it?
This campaign represents victims of crime. We will get justice by securing full refunds for tenants who have been charged illegal fees, and set an example to lawbreakers by working to secure the first conviction in Scotland for this crime. This will remove the financial incentive from letting agents and act as a strong deterrent to tenant abuse in future.