Why is Shelter Scotland doing this?

We’re contacted every week by people who tell us that they’ve been wrongly charged by letting agencies.  The law says they shouldn’t be and we think it’s about time that people were made aware that these charges are unlawful and can be claimed back using our simple process.

Why should I reclaim my fees?

You should reclaim your fees because you’ve been charged for something that you shouldn’t have.  You wouldn’t let someone just help themselves to your money so why not take back what’s rightfully yours?

What does the law say about all this?

Current legislation explicitly prohibits charges for drawing up a tenancy agreement and furthermore it is an offence to require any premium as a condition of the grant or continuance of tenancy. This comes under section 82 of the Rent (Scotland) Act 1984 (imported into the Housing (Scotland) Act 1988 in respect of assured tenancies by section 27 of the Act). In accordance with Section 90, a premium includes any fine or other sum and any other pecuniary consideration‘ in addition to rent.

Does this work?  Has it been tested?

There are lots of examples of people reclaiming their fees using the process we’ve detailed in this website. Our content has been written and checked by our legal team. As the campaign runs we’ll be encouraging people to contact us with their success stories and will put them up on this website.

Are upfront fees like tenant registration and holding fees unlawful?

The legislation states that if your letting agent refuses to lease a property to you unless you pay the additional fee, then it’s unlawful.

Can you go through this process even if you’ve have left a tenancy?

You can still reclaim your fees once you have left your tenancy if the charges were made within the last five years. It also helps if you have a copy of the lease and proof of the charges that were made (eg a bank statement showing the transaction) to back up your claim.

Do I need to have a copy of my lease?

It helps to have a copy of your lease if you decide to go to court because you may be asked to prove that you lived in the property you’re claiming your fees back for. However, you could use other evidence to support this, e.g. details of bank transactions to your letting agent or utility bills in your name for that address.

If I go to court and lose will I get costs awarded against me?

Normally if the amount being claimed is less than £200 then there will be no award of expenses against the losing party. This would cover the amount of most claims made for unlawful fees. If your claim is above £200 and you lose then the court may grant expenses to the other party. However, the law on premiums is clear and we’re aware of many tenants who have used our toolkit successfully.

I paid my fees years ago, can I still reclaim them?

If you were charged fees within the past five years you can reclaim them using our step by step process

Will I need to go to court?

Our experience shows that many letting agencies will repay money they’ve unlawfully charged when they realise that tenants are serious and will take the matter to the simple procedure court, if necessary.  Even if you do need to go to the simple procedure court the procedures there are designed to be as simple to follow and as straightforward as possible.