Scottish Government bans letting agents' additional charges
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Finance, Legal
To Let Signs
All letting agent and landlord charges except rent and refundable deposits have been outlawed by the Scottish Government - with reference checks, credit checks and inventory fees now forbidden.
Parliament voted to approve secondary legislation clarifying the law covering what fees letting agents and landlords can charge, after concerns that existing rules had not been explicit enough about their legality.
A YouGov poll earlier in the year found that one in four English renters felt they had been ripped off by letting agents.
It is estimated that there are around 500 letting agent businesses in Scotland involved in around 150,000 private lettings per year
Minister for Housing and Welfare, Margaret Burgess, said: “The vast majority of Scotland’s letting agents and landlords operate in a professional and above-board manner, and play an important role in the Scottish private rented sector.
“I am pleased that the legality of pre-tenancy charges has been clarified.
“This Government was determined to end the illegal practice of charges such as holding deposits and reference checks.
“The law is now clear on this matter and will help remove a barrier that will make the private rented sector more accessible for a wide range of individuals and families.”
Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, added: “This is great news for everyone who has been ripped-off by unscrupulous letting agents. It will finally put an end to this unlawful practice and ensure that tenants are no longer exploited.
“Shelter Scotland has been campaigning all year for these fees to be outlawed. Our reclaimyourfees.com web site has proved so popular that already more than a quarter of a million pounds worth of claims against letting agents have been made using our free step-by-step toolkit.
“Moves like this can only strengthen Scotland’s private rented sector and help make it a fairer and more secure place to live for the 270,000 households that now call the sector home.”