A recent court case has confirmed that administration fees charged by letting agents in Scotland are unlawful – including those charged before the Scottish Government’s clarification of the law in November 2012.
In the case ‘Michael Cross and Others v Aberdeen Property Leasing’, three student tenants successfully took their letting agent to the small claims court to reclaim letting agent fees, which were charged in 2009. All three tenants saw the return of their administration fee, plus interest from the date they made their claim.
The tenants in this case were aided by Aberdeen Law Project – they provide advice and representation to people in the Aberdeen area. They can be contacted on 01224 272 434.
In her written judgement Sheriff Marysia Lewis stated that the change to the law in November 2012 was to clarify that letting agent fees had been unlawful under the existing legislation – and so any fees charged prior to that date are unlawful:
“In my opinion the definition was not changed – it was improved to make it crystal clear to all involved in residential leasing that administration fees ought not to have been imposed and ought not to be imposed.”
This confirms the view both of Shelter Scotland and a leading advocate. We hope this helps any tenants currently taking forward actions against letting agents for unlawfully charged fees. We also hope this case makes it plain to agents currently facing claims from tenants relating from before the 30th of November 2012 that these fees should be repaid. The judgement can be found on the Scottish Courts website.
Tenants who have been asked to pay fees should use our online toolkit, and report any agents who continue to charge fees to their local Trading Standards office via the Citizens Advice Bureau. They can be contacted on 08454 04 05 06.