We will achieve our objective of the prosecution of those who have committed crimes against tenants in Scotland and the full reimbursement of the victims by enlisting the cooperation of the following stakeholders.
Letting agency staff and tenants:
Are in the best position to bring misconduct to the attention of the public and the authorities. Illegal behaviour in the private rented sector leads to increased burdensome and costly regulation for law abiding landlords, and makes tenants distrustful. Tenants ought to demand respect and lawful treatment.
Campaigns like this are an important tool to promote best practice and seek redress for injustice. Please help by contacting us with evidence of wrongdoing which we will publish while protecting your privacy. Where appropriate we can support you in contacting the relevant authorities and making sure they take your concerns seriously.
If you see something, say something.
Have a general duty to promote compliance with housing law. Awareness of the issues and sound knowledge of the applicable laws is key to offer a high standard of service, supporting service providers with their compliance obligations while clamping down on those who act illegally. This campaign seeks to educate the local authority staff who deal with housing issues as to the serious consequences to both landlords and tenants of ineffective regulation, and to provide an informational resource to enable more effective enforcement.
Are responsible for protecting the public from all illegal conduct through deterrence and investigation of reported offences. While resource constrained, the police service should strive to ensure all complaints of criminal conduct are treated seriously, no matter how apparently minor. Not all landlord/tenant disputes will be civil in nature, and where the law provides criminal sanctions it is essential that the police afford victims of these crimes the same quality of service as the victims of more familiar forms of crime. While breaches of housing law will not take priority over emergencies or investigations of serious violent crime, it would be a policing mistake to view any routine breach of the criminal law as too minor to merit police attention. Allowing a class of individuals to publicly flout the criminal law with impunity undermines the criminal justice system and the trust placed in those who serve it. If injustice is allowed to continue without sanction from the state, the rule of law is threatened and disgruntled members of society may take matters into their own hands.
This campaign seeks to inform our police of the widespread and serious nature of fee fraud perpetrated by agencies with no regard for the law and the harm it does to ordinary hard working citizens.
Objectively covering news of injustice is the responsibility of every serious media organisation. Where corruption may exist, or other systemic failures prevent justice being done, the media serve an important role in informing the public and bringing pressure to bear on the appropriate authorities to act. This campaign will liaise with journalists to highlight the widespread lawbreaking which has occurred, the prominent individuals and firms involved, and the astonishing value of the illicit gains.
[media pack and contact details for press coming soon]
Who in theory exist to serve the electorate need supervision by informed, responsible, and community spirited voters to ensure that they can take action on the issues their constituents see as important. Many elected officials have publicly taken a hard line against tenant exploitation, but the rights of tenants are clearly not given sufficient weight when balanced with the better organised and better financed interests of the landed classes. By tracking which politicians are taken action to ensure enforcement of the laws which they were given credit for passing, this campaign seeks to hold our representatives to account.
[names of politicians and parties who have agreed to support prosecution of housing law offences will be prominently featured during this campaign]
Charities, community leaders and pressure groups:
This campaign will be actively engaged with organisations who support our goals and can offer assistance.
Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service:
The authority responsible for the prosecution of all crime in Scotland has discretionary powers known as “the public interest test” when deciding whether to prosecute an accused offender. When there is sufficient evidence to secure a conviction, prosecutors must also be satisfied that it is in the interest of the public to commit our resources to convict and punish the offender. This campaign seeks to educate those who will ultimately make this decision of the real harm which is done both to individual victims and to society at large when landlords are permitted to flout the criminal law without consequence. We also seek to balance any influence exerted by those who have the most to gain financially from preserving the unjust status quo.