Tenancy fees set to become illegal in Scotland

From November it will be illegal to charge tenant fees in Scotland.

The controversial move follows a lengthy campaign from housing charity Shelter, which has pushed for changes to the Rent (Scotland) Act 1984.

As a result of the changes letting agents will no longer be permitted to charge any fees other than rent and deposit.

Housing and Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “We will make it crystal clear to tenants, landlords and their agents that premium fees, over and above rent and a deposit, are unlawful.”

The move has been welcomed by housing and tenant groups. Shelter policy head Gordon McRae said: “Moves like this can only strengthen Scotland’s private rented sector and help make it a fairer and more secure place to live for the 270,000 households that now call the sector home.”

The change will coincide with the introduction of compulsory deposit protection in Scotland, bringing the country’s deposit rules in line with the rest of Great Britain.

There has been speculation over the business impact of the changes. While some agents have intimated that the new rules could mean rent increases, others have suggested that many landlords are already footing the bill themselves. Others still insist that so-called ‘premium’ fees have long been illegal, and that the new changes simply clarify the existing law.

Read more about the separate changes to deposit protection, which will also come into force in November.

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