Freedom of information: Prosecutions - Rent (Sc) Act
7 October 2013
Thank you for your e-mail of 11 September 2013 in which you requested the following information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA):
1."Following the November 2012 guidance issued by the Scottish Parliament regarding statutory interpretation of s82 the Rent (Scotland) Act 1984, how many criminal prosecutions have been commenced against landlords who have charged illegal premiums?"
2."As the charging of such premiums has been common practice in the industry for the last decade, and the statutes make clear that requiring the payment of a premium is a criminal offence, is there an intention to recover such illegal sums charged as the proceeds of crime?"
3."Does the Area PF for the East of Scotland intend to direct the Police to investigate reports that at least one letting agency, O'Neill lettings of Edinburgh continues to charge these premiums."
We have now completed our search for the information you request, and can report as follows:
1. No prosecutions have been commenced against landlords under Section 82 of the Rent (Scotland) Act 1984. Our records indicate that no reports in relation to alleged contraventions of this section have been submitted to COPFS since November 2012.
2. All referrals received by the Civil Recovery Unit (CRU) are investigated to establish whether recoverable property, as defined within Part 5 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, exists. If such property exists then consideration is given to whether it is appropriate and in the public interest that civil recovery proceedings be raised. The CRU will neither confirm nor deny the receipt of any specific referrals until such time that formal court proceedings are raised.
3. This is not a request for recorded information under FOISA but we have set out a response to this query below.
The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service is the sole prosecution authority in Scotland with a duty to investigate all reports submitted by the police and other reporting agencies to ascertain whether the subject of the report should be prosecuted for an offence. If you have information regarding a criminal offence you should refer this information to the Police Service of Scotland who will investigate and, if appropriate, submit a report to the Procurator Fiscal for consideration.
I also refer to your subsequent email of 2 October 2013. I can confirm that members of the public are entitled to report to the Police Service of Scotland allegations of criminal conduct. Police will investigate and, if appropriate, submit a report to COPFS for consideration. To protect the public the Police Service of Scotland encourages the reporting of criminal conduct and therefore you are free to share this information with other tenants or their representatives.