Students and parents warned to beware rogue letting agents

24
Sep

To coincide with the start of Fresher’s Weeks’ across Scotland, the Council of Letting Agents (CLA) has released its “top tips” to help students spot rogue letting agents when finding private rented accommodation.

Students, especially those with no prior renting experience, are often a prime target for rogue letting agents, resulting in high costs and tenants staying in sub-standard and sometimes dangerous accommodation.

The CLA is urging new and returning students to watch for key signs to ensure that they are working with a credible letting agent who is working within the law and to the highest professional standards.  These tips are:

Professional Membership:  Make sure your letting agent is a member of a professional body such asthe CLA.

  • No upfront fees:  The agent should not charge tenants anything in connection with the grant of a lease other than rent and a security deposit.  If an agent asks for any additional fees, please contact your local students association for advice.
  • Deposit:  The agent should lodge all deposits with a tenancy deposit scheme. Be wary of agents who say they don’t take deposits, particularly if they take large sums of rent in advance.
  • Services:  Clarify what services the agent is providing.  Sometimes they will be involved in managing the property from the start to the end of the tenancy; sometimes the landlord will take over once the tenants move in.
  • Paperwork:  Ask to see a copy of their standard lease before you commit to the property & check you are happy with the terms.
  • Insurance: Whilst a letting agent may offer contents insurance they cannot insist you purchase it.
  • Recommendation:  If you have friends who’ve had a good experience of using the agent this is a great sign.
  • Accreditation:  Check that the agent is accredited with Landlord Accreditation Scotland (LAS).

Kathleen Gell, Convenor of the Council of Letting Agents said:  “For too long students have been ripped off by rogue letting agents.  It is critical that they are aware of their rights are and what level of service they should expect from their letting agent.”

“It is the responsibility of the CLA and our members to eradicate rogue practice which threatens to undermine the whole of the Private Rented Sector in Scotland.  We hope these simple tips will help students’ spot rogue letting agents quickly and easily.”

“In addition to these tips, more information is available from our website at http://www.counciloflettingagents.com/ and if anyone has further questions we would urge them to get in touch and we will be delighted to help.”

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For further information please contact Graeme Downie on 07973 300 184 or Graeme.downie@orbit-comms.co.uk

Notes to editors

About the Council of Letting Agents – www.counciloflettingagents.com

The Council of Letting Agents (CLA) represents Scotland’s leading letting agents. It is the largest professional association of its kind in Scotland and is at the head of the lettings industry.

The CLA represents the collective opinion of our member letting agents and we encourage all our members to feed in by email or phone. Landlords and agents are in the same industry, so we believe working together as much as possible as equal parts of SAL, the leading trade body in the country, makes us all stronger.

Convenor Kathleen Gell leads the group and represents agents on the SAL National Council which feeds into the overall policy position of the organisation.