Seize the Fees Action Update
A run through of the work undertaken thus far to defend our member and return the premiums that they were illegally charged.
“I knew it was dodgy but never knew how to approach Let It to demand back what they’d unlawfully taken.” These were the words of our new member Catherine as she stood alongside the Seize the Fees team, preparing to bring Let It to account after they had charged her hundreds of pounds in illegal insurance premiums.
During her five year tenancy with Let It, the firm had insisted, year after year, that she take out Tenancy Liability cover. Evident from the receipts of these payments, the fees for Tenancy Liability cover were ‘Premiums’. The Rent (Scotland) Act, Section 82 alongside the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016, Section 20 inform us that it is unlawful to charge any premium or loan in relation to a private residential tenancy. The fact that these premiums were received by third party insurance companies does not affect the law nor the campaign’s unshaking drive to Seize the Fees!
Empowered by the strength in numbers and the conviction of Catherine’s case, a Living Rent negotiation team entered the Let It office on Monday 27th August. What awaited inside was a common corporate response: only the manager has the authority to speak on these issues and they’re away until the end of the week. After insisting on the payments of several hundred pounds in unlawful premiums, the agency were now unwilling to meet with their cheated ex-tenant.
Not content to be pushed aside on this important issue, the supporting Living Rent members picketted and rallied outside the offices of Let It for the rest of the day. Supported by Glasgow city councillors who were in attendance, members spoke to passers-by who echoed the bad experiences they had had with Let It. It was clear that the campaign was going to continue until Catherine had achieved a victory.
The day’s action had caused a stir. By the afternoon, the Let It’s Managing Director Colin Roe had emailed both Catherine and Living Rent with aggravated responses. As a current fellow at A.R.L.A (the Association of Residential Letting Agents), the director must have felt agitated at the thought of his agencies practices being exposed as breaking the same codes of conduct he is meant to encourage.
Working closely with Catherine and housing lawyers, the Seize the Fees team are now in correspondence with Colin Roe. The demand is for the insurance premiums to be repaid to Catherine and for the firm to stop unlawfully referring tenants to these third-party insurance companies as a requirement for the tenancy. Living Rent have brought this pressing issue into the spotlight and Let It have to respond accordingly.
Come along to our next Seize the Fees campaign meeting to help strategise on our next steps both in dealing with the ongoing defense of our member and for the wider campaign.
Thursday 13th September, 6pm @ Unite the Union (room 4)