Illegal Tenant Fees – What You Should Know

Are you a Tenant?

Did your Letting Agent or Landlord charge you a fee to obtain a lease?

If so, did you know that this is illegal?

In 2012, the Scottish Government made it illegal for Landlords and Letting Agents to charge tenants fees relating to:

  • Completing an application
  • Granting a lease
  • Preparing an Inventory
  • Administration

However incredibly, there are still agencies charging these fees several years after they were banned.  Tenants should only have to pay rent and deposit (maximum of 2 months).

Some agencies may say that they use a 3rd party to obtain references.  It doesn’t matter!  These fees too, are illegal and should not be paid.

In addition, if you have been charged a fee to renew or extend your lease as a tenant, these are also banned.

The good news is, if you have been charged any of the above fees since 2013 to obtain a lease, you can claim this money back following the steps below:

  1. Write a letter to the agency and ask them to return the fees stating that you have been charged an “illegal premium”. Be sure to sign and date it.
  2. Include any proof of the transaction (bank statement, receipts).
  3. Send a copy of the letter to the letting agent but keep a copy for your records.
  4. If the Letting Agent doesn’t respond to you after 7 days, send a 2nd letter to them, quoting the legislation that makes these fees unlawful (Section 82, Rent (Scotland) Act 1984) and warn them that you are willing to pursue a “simple procedure” in court if they do not return the fees.  Include a copy of the 1st letter that you sent.
  5. If the Letting Agent still doesn’t respond, you can begin to take legal action. It’s an easy procedure via the First Tier Tribunal and it’s FREE to apply.
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