Why report crime to the police?
Your police service is free at the point of use. You are the victim of a crime, and are entitled to the full protection of our criminal law system. The government intended that tenants use the criminal courts to enforce this law, as the Rent (Scotland) Act 1984 provides that the judge who convicts under the criminal law can also order the money be refunded. You can get your money back for free, simply by filing a police report. The criminal is fined a thousand pounds, which makes it unprofitable to continue breaking the law.
The civil court system is not free. You must first try to negotiate with the criminal who defrauded you before you are allowed to use the court. They will likely stonewall you and waste your time. (Shelter have even compiled a list of excuses letting agents use to delay or refuse refunds) Even if they pay up at any stage of the process, they are only paying your own money back to you – they have lost nothing and suffered no consequence for their disrespect and criminal exploitation. Their scam remains highly profitable and so it continues.
If they do not pay up, you must attend court, travel, possibly miss work, deal with lawyers and legal technicalities, and argue your case in front of a judge. If you win, you have to enforce your judgement, which might mean paying more money to hire debt collectors. It may take several months to collect your refund. It will likely be a time consuming and stressful process. They’re counting on this putting you off. But there is a simpler solution.
Simply attend at your local police station and give a statement. They’ll get your money back for you. Our campaign has already secured an assurance from the procurator fiscal that tenants are entitled to report crime to the police and that the police will take a report and investigate.