After a successful campaign by Edinburgh Private Tenants Group the Scottish Government has agreed to clarify that all tenancy fees are illegal. These fees, often totalling several hundred pounds, come in many guises, often called “referencing fees”, “admin fees” or “cleaning fees”. All of these have been illegal for many years however when EPTAG surveyed letting agents in Edinburgh we found that the vast majority still charge fees, relying on tenants weak position and lack of knowledge as to their legal rights to rip them off.
Of course legislative change clarifying the legal situation is welcome, but what is crucial is enforcement. Are we going to see letting agents taken to court or fined for charging these fees? Will it be left up to ordinary tenants and their organisations like EPTAG to demand their rights? EPTAG has been protesting against some of the most excessive fees, such as those charged by letting agent DJ Alexander.
Today is a massive victory for tenants, but to ensure that tenancy fees are history we need to keep the pressure up. To get involved with EPTAG and help support our campaigns, sign up for our email newsletter on the left or contact us to find out when our next meeting is.