Solidarity in action: Living Rent campaign defeats ‘illegal fees’ in Glasgow tenant dispute 

Campaigners help mum in Glasgow housing fees and eviction scandal 

SCOTLAND’S TENANTS’ UNION has scored an early victory in a tenants dispute over “illegal fees” by helping an eviction-threatened tenant reclaim charges and move into a new property. 

Amanda Gallagher, a tenant under letting agency AVJ Homes, received a notice to quit after she challenged administration fees that were being paid on top of her lease agreement. 

Shortly afterwards, Gallagher received a notice to quit - creating great deal of distress to herself and five year old son. However, the conflict was swiftly resolved after tenants’ union Living Rent intervened to act on her behalf. 

Housing group Shelter state that letting agencies “have no legal right” to charge administration fees on housing leases to tenants. Living Rent successfully represented Gallagher to get the fees repaid, and helped find a new property for her. 

Seàn Baillie of Living Rent, who helped coordinate the response alongside Castlemilk Against Austerity, confirmed to CommonSpace that the fees have been repaid. 

Read more - Tenants launch national Living Rent union to counter landlord lobby

The group organised a big community effort to help the move - with activists coming together to “organise moving stuff, paint jobs, setting stuff up” in the new property. 

The success proved that Living Rent is “making inroads and rebalancing the power between tenants and landlords”, Baillie said. 

Vijay Gindha, the manager of the AVJ Homes office, told CommonSpace: “There was a fee charged to her that was paid back.” “We’re sourced her another property,” he added.

The local victory follows success for housing campaigners in February when banking giant Santander changed its mortgage contracts after pressure from Living Rent and housing campaigners in England. 

Read more - Housing campaigners claim victory over banking giant through street protest

Living Rent successfully campaigned for the reintroduction of moderate, localised rent control measures in the Private Housing (Tenancies) Act 2016. Campaigners want stronger security of tenure for tenants, and the introduction of rent controls to limit sky high housing costs. 

Picture courtesy of Living Rent

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