We’re contacted every week by people who tell us that they’ve been wrongly charged by letting agencies. The law says they shouldn’t be and we think it’s about time that people were made aware that these charges are unlawful and can be claimed back using our simple process.
You should reclaim your fees because you’ve been charged for something that you shouldn’t have. You wouldn’t let someone just help themselves to your money so why not take back what’s rightfully yours?
Current legislation explicitly prohibits charges for drawing up a tenancy agreement and furthermore it is an offence to require any premium as a condition of the grant or continuance of tenancy. This comes under section 82 of the Rent (Scotland) Act 1984 (imported into the Housing (Scotland) Act 1988 in respect of assured tenancies by section 27 of the Act). In accordance with Section 90, a premium includes any fine or other sum and any other pecuniary consideration‘ in addition to rent.
There are lots of examples of people reclaiming their fees using the process we’ve detailed in this website. Our content has been written and checked by our legal team. As the campaign runs we’ll be encouraging people to contact us with their success stories and will put them up on this website.
The legislation states that if your letting agent refuses to lease a property to you unless you pay the additional fee, then it’s unlawful.
This is something that we’re campaigning for more clarity on.
You can still reclaim your fees once you have left your tenancy if the charges were made within the last five years. It also helps if you have a copy of the lease and proof of the charges that were made (eg a bank statement showing the transaction) to back up your claim.
It helps to have a copy of your lease if you decide to go to court because you may be asked to prove that you lived in the property you’re claiming your fees back for. However, you could use other evidence to support this, e.g. details of bank transactions to your letting agent or utility bills in your name for that address.
Normally if the amount being claimed is less than £200 then there will be no award of expenses against the losing party. This would cover the amount of most claims made for unlawful fees. So no, if you lose you shouldn't need to pay anything.
If you were charged fees within the past five years you can reclaim them using our step by step process
Our experience shows that many letting agencies will repay money they’ve unlawfully charged when they realise that tenants are serious and will take the matter to the Small Claims Court, if necessary. Even if you do need to go to the small claims court the procedures there are designed to be as simple to follow and as straightforward as possible.
Have a question that's not been answered, or have you been successful in reclaiming your fees?
Let us know on:
Email us using our get advice by email form on shelter.org.uk/getadvice