Ten months after Edinburgh City Council’s decision to ban Mark Fortune from renting out properties in the city, the millionaire landlord is still in business. Fortune is appealing the council’s decision, and this allows him to continue acting as a landlord until the appeal process has been completed. At the time of writing no date has been set for his appeal hearing. (more…)
A soggy Sunday afternoon saw Edinburgh Private Tenants Action Group’s second annual general meeting, which took place at the Macdonald Road library in Leith. (more…)
Today’s action marks another important milestone on EPTAG’s long-term journey to improve private tenancy rights in Scotland. In the first move to reach out to other cities in Scotland EPTAG members and local private tenants met up today to kick-off a campaign against a letting agency in Glasgow. The letting agency charged premiums from tenants and also failed to pay deposits to an approved tenancy deposit scheme. Both these practices are illegal but still common throughout Scotland. The five campaigners knocked at over 100 doors and spoke to many tenants who confirmed and reported similar criminal offences. At a meeting on Tuesday the tenants will get a detailed briefing about their options and how EPTAG can support them in claiming back their fees. With the recently initiated Private Tenants Scotland, the umbrella organisation that hosts local groups like EPTAG or the new Glasgow branch, the foundation for an organised approach has been created. If you want to campaign for private tenancy rights in your area, get in touch!
EPTAG is staging a protest against Dunpark Letting Agency to support student Rosie K to claim back her illegally charged fees. Although she was issued a decree by the Small Claims Court Dunpark Letting Agency refuses to pay up.
Join us outside Dunpark’s Edinburgh office on Tuesday the 19th November at 1pm to support your fellow tenant and EPTAG member. Let’s send a message to letting agents that they can’t ignore the law.
Read Rosie’s full story below. (more…)
Has the new Tenancy Deposit Scheme really improved things for tenants? One of our members shares his negative experiences. (more…)
A new blog has been created which condemns Edinburgh’s most well known criminal landlord, Mark Fortune. The aptly named ‘Misfortune Property’ blog aims to help stop future tenants being exploited.
The author states that “this blog was created to warn people, so that they do not get exploited like so many other tenants have”, because “the wheels of justice are turning so very slowly, and meanwhile, he continues to break the law and exploit tenants”.
Fortune is accused in the blog of a number of crimes and misconduct toward his tenants, several of which are a matter of public record – namely his conviction for a breach of the peace for verbally assaulting one of his tenants, and his fine for renting out HMO properties without a license.
The blog lists the properties which are known to be Mark Fortune flats in the Tollcross and Bruntsfield areas. EPTAG can confirm that these addresses are correct, according to the records that the Council holds on failed HMO applications and other documents.
This is not the only blog that has been created recently criticizing landlords. Another called ‘O’Neills Property Reviews’ was created last month, and claims that the agency has been ignoring the Tenancy Deposit Scheme legislation, and not securing tenants deposits. The blog also accuses the agency of dangerous repairing standards, and other misconduct.
For private tenants, it is often very hard to know if a letting agency or landlord is a decent one, especially if you are a migrant worker new to Scotland. This new wave of internet vigilantism may help rectify this issue, by raising awareness about letting agents and landlords who . EPTAG wishes these bloggers the best of luck in their campaigns.
In a landmark decision, an Edinburgh Landlord has been ordered to pay three times the value of the deposit to his tenants, for a violation of the new Tenancy Deposit Scheme. (more…)
After seeing an article in the Edinburgh Evening News in late 2012 about EPTAG holding a demonstration outside the offices of a letting agent, I decided to check out their website to find out more.
Even though I had moved and changed letting agents, I found an old ‘summary of charges’ from October 2008 for a flat I had rented from Edinburgh Letting Solutions (ELS). The summary listed the amounts for the deposit, months rent and then ‘Administration Fees’ of £50.
Following the website advice, letter templates and downloading a Sheriff Court Summons Form (EPTAG providing the link), I wrote a letter to ELS requesting my £50 back.
After waiting a few weeks and not getting a reply I sent another letter, which was not replied to. I then emailed them to inform them that if they did not respond this time I would take them to the small claims court.
ELS promptly replied to me with a proposed deadline date, promising me a full response (which they did not keep). So I spent half an hour reading and filling in the summons form and posted it off. Once it had been processed, I called the Sheriff office and paid my £16 lodgement fee over the phone. The court could not have been more helpful or friendly to me when I called them to ask how to proceed. I was given a deadline date for ELS to respond to me and a court date a fortnight later if ELS had not agreed to my refund.
Then out of the blue, a cheque for £50 was delivered to me, no letter, no apology, but at least a cheque! I wrote back to them and thanked them for this but explained that they still owed me £16 for having to bring the action against them and I would not be cancelling the court date until they paid me this. A week later another cheque for £16 arrived.
So although the whole process could take more than 6 weeks, it required very little effort on my part, just a few emails and some easy form filling at the start – the rest is just waiting for your cheque or court date!
It was only with the help and advice that I got from EPTAG that motivated me to make the initial effort to ask for my money back from ELS.
So to everyone who reads this and is thinking about reclaiming money that is rightfully theirs, then I would suggest you dig out the letting agents paperwork. The letter templates are on the website, you just fill in your details and post it off, it’s that easy.
I have just banked £66 for the cost of a couple of stamps and I imagine there is a lot of renters out there that have been stung for a lot more money than I. What are waiting for? Go get your free cash!
With the support of EPTAG, more than a dozen tenants are making a group claim to Rettie – the agency acting on behalf of Scotmid – who have so far ignored the tenants’ requests to be refunded the money. This has left us with no choice but to call a demonstration. (more…)