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MSP calls for crack down on rogue letting agents

Graham Simpson, MSP has claimed that rogue letting agents are scamming landlords and tenants, despite new laws aimed at stopping them from  pocketing rents and deposits.

Graham Simpson, a Conservative MSP who sits on the Scottish Parliament for Central Scotland, is calling for a change in the law to help landlords and tenants reclaim their money.

He has revealed that ‘sharks’ in the property industry collect deposits from tenants and fail to safeguard the money in a protection scheme as required by law.

They also keep rent paid by tenants instead of passing the money to landlords, he says.

Simpson told the Scottish Parliament that letting agents were breaking the law, seemingly with impunity.

The law says landlords can reclaim lost money from letting agents by taking them before a First-Tier Tribunal, but agents don’t bother going to the hearings and ignore any enforcement orders designed to make them pay.

The MSP is urging the government to change the law so letting agents must pay up.

Simpson says if they are not charged with a criminal offence, they should go back to court to force them to comply with enforcement orders.

“I have had numerous complaints about this issue,” he said. “It’s absurd that letting agents can get away with breaking the law. People need to start taking this seriously.

“I have raised this issue with the housing minister and intend to write to him again as well as the Justice Secretary, Humza Yousaf.

“Too many people’s lives are being made a misery.”

Simpson first raised the issue in the Scottish Parliament in May, when the tribunal confirmed 26 enforcement orders had been issued - half were complied with and 10 handed to the police.

However, he argued that police have not revealed whether they are investigating any complaints or the outcomes.