£100,000 claims over agents’ letting fees

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Private-sector tenants are bidding to recover more than £100,000 in unlawful letting agent charges after a Shelter Scotland campaign against the fees attracted more than 800 claims in just two months.

The housing and homelessness charity launched www.reclaimyourfees.com in May in a bid to raise awareness of the illegality of upfront fees charged by some letting agents in Scotland.

The Rent (Scotland) Act 1984 makes it unlawful for tenants to be charged a “premium” covering administration charges, reference checks and other costs, although some letting agents are open about levying such fees.

Shelter has revealed that some 870 people who visited the website are now in proceedings to reclaim £100,998 in unlawful fees.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: “Despite the fact that premiums charged to tenants have been illegal in Scotland for almost 30 years, the nature of what is and isn’t a premium has been long-contested by some, to the detriment of tenants who are still being asked to pay these charges.”