A Scottish MP has hit out at letting agents who break the law, calling them industry sharks.
He said they should be prosecuted and not merely asked to attend a tribunal.
Graham Simpson MSP, who represents Central Scotland, has called for a crackdown on agents who pocket tenants’ deposits and fail to pass on rent.
In Scotland, complaints about agents are dealt with by the First-tier Tribunal.
But one landlord said he is owed £6,500 by a letting agent and said the tribunal system is useless.
He said he is owed months of rent on four flats by his letting agent, and had had to repay tenants their deposits, which had not been lodged with an authorised scheme.
Simpson said: “In my view a letting agent who takes money from tenants and landlords in this way should be prosecuted for theft or fraud.
“I see no point in the tribunal procedure because it doesn’t seem to change anything.
“Letting agents don’t attend hearings and don’t pay up when rulings are made against them.”
Simpson raised the issue in the Scottish Parliament after receiving “numerous” complaints about letting agents.
He said it was “absurd” that agents could break the law and get away with it.
He said: “Too many people’s lives are being made a misery.”
He is raising the issue with housing minister Kevin Steward and justice secretary Humza Yousaf.
There have been calls for the Scottish system of dealing with landlord and tenant disputes to be replicated in England.