If you’d like to reclaim your fees from your landlord or letting agent follow this easy to follow step-by-step guide.
This may seem complicated but it’s not – our online toolkit does all the difficult parts for you. All you need to do is post the letters!
Write to your letting agent and ask them to return your fees
The first thing you should do is write to your landlord or letting agent to ask for your fees to be returned. Use the first letter in our online toolkit to create this letter. If you have proof of this charge, e.g. a receipt or a copy of your bank statement, then you should include a copy of this with the letter.
Make sure you sign and date this letter before you send it. It’s very important that you keep a copy of this letter – it will help you later on if your landlord refuses to give you your money back.
If you don’t get your fees back write again
If after seven days your landlord doesn’t return your fees you should send them the second letter from our online toolkit. This letter explains the law which makes fees unlawful and warns your landlord or letting agent that you’ll take them to the simple procedure court (which has replaced the small claims court) if they don’t return the fees. You should also include a copy of the first letter, along with the copies of the receipts. This makes sure they know you have already told them that you want your fees back. Again, it’s really important that you sign and date this letter and keep a copy of it.
If you still don’t get your fees back lodge a simple procedure action
Taking a simple procedure action isn’t as scary as you might think – anyone can go to the simple procedure court and you don’t need a solicitor.
All you need to do is fill out a simple procedure claims form online on the Scottish Courts Service’s website and attach your Statement of Claim and give this form to your local sheriff court.
If you’re unsure about how to do this ask the Sheriff Clerk in your local sheriff court – they will be able tell you which form to fill in.
You’ll need to pay £18 to lodge this form or £100 if your claim is over £200. Some people are exempt from paying Sheriff Court fees. The Scottish Court Service’s website gives a list of the exemptions. The type of form you should fill out depends on whether your landlord is an individual, e.g. a private landlord which you know the name of, or a company, for example a letting agency. If the letting agent has gone into administration, or changed its name, your claim might be a little more complicated. Speak to an adviser if you are in this situation on our free housing adviceline: 0808 800 4444.
You should use Form 3A and you should attach your Statement of Claim at box D of these forms. Your landlord or letting agent needs to be given their part of the simple procedure form too – the Sheriff Clerk can arrange this for you.
Once you’ve completed these forms go to the sheriff court and show it to the Sheriff Clerk. They will check to see if everything has been filled in correctly. Guidance on simple procedure actions is available on the Scottish Court Service’s website.
It’s quite straightforward to lodge a simple procedure, however it’s also very important that you see your claim through until the end – otherwise you may be liable for the letting agent’s expenses.
Go to court if necessary
If after step 3 you still don’t get your fees back your case will go to court. Lodging a simple procedure claim isn’t as scary as you might think – it’s designed so that anyone can go to court and you don’t need a solicitor.
If you’re unsure of anything then you can always ask the Sheriff Clerk about what to do. They are there to help and can advise you on what to do when you get to court, e.g. what time your case will be heard and in which court room. As the simple procedure is designed so that you don’t need a solicitor you can’t get legal aid for this.
If you’re successful at court hopefully the letting agent will just pay up. However, if they don’t there are a few steps you need to take to enforce the court’s decision:
- Firstly send the letting agent a copy of the ‘extract for payment’ – this is a copy of the sheriff’s decision ordering the letting agent to refund you for the fees, you’ll get this from the sheriff clerk once you claim has been decided
- If they still don’t pay up send them a letter warning them that if they don’t comply with the court’s order you’ll be force to take further enforcement action, eg by instructing sheriff officers – download a sample letter to send to your letting agent regarding further enforcement
- If all else fails you can instruct sheriff officers to serve the court’s decision on the letting agent for you – sheriff officers will charge a fee for this. The current fee levels are: £17 (including VAT) + postage for postal service, or £58.80 (including VAT) for personal service. You’ll be able to add these costs onto the money you’re owed. If your case becomes more complicated the sheriff officers will be able to guide you through the process to claim your money back. Find sheriff officers in your area on the Society of Messengers-at-Arms and Sheriff Officers website.
It’s important that you follow each step and keep copies of all the letters you send. We also recommend sending the letters by recorded delivery.