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Rogue letting agents back down

Three tenants discovered that it is illegal in Scotland for letting agents to charge tenants fees apart from rent and deposits. Their letting agent, Martin & Co, had charged the three of them them a substantial £250 ‘check-in’ fee before they had even paid their deposit.

They first submitted an official complaint but received only the receipt listing the fees they had paid as a reply. The charity Shelter advised them that they could go to the small claims court, but the court fee would have been £65 with no guarantee of a win.

So instead, on 3rd February, they and 15 friends from the Glasgow Solidarity Network delivered a letter in person to the head of the Martin & Co West End office (to the amusement of other staff) giving the company two weeks to return the money.

They left quickly, took a picture outside for posterity, and dispersed. The manager must have called the police, because two officers came by the flat on Saturday to talk to them. However, thanks to helpful information from the Scottish Activist Legal Project, Solidarity Network members know their rights, and the police left without even taking names.

On Tuesday 7th February, just four days later, the tenants received a cheque for the money in full, without any further action or the cost and time of legal procedings.

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