Agents’ Code of Practice:
Letting agents in Scotland will soon be regulated through a statutory Code of Practice and will be entered in a register of Scottish letting agents. The Housing Minister, Kevin Stewart, is to write to all commercial letting agents in Scotland setting out the changes and the need to comply by 31st January 2018.
The new code sets out standards by which all letting agents must deliver their services. The new legislation makes it compulsory for agents to have Client Money Protection and Professional Indemnity Insurance in place.
Landlords and tenants will be able to use the code to challenge poor practice and, if necessary, enforce it through the new First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber). Letting agents will be required to join the Scottish Government’s mandatory register of letting agents, and key individuals in agencies will be required must meet a minimum level of training.
Mr Stewart said:
“We are committed to ensuring the highest quality private rented sector, which empowers tenants. Our framework for regulation, and the need for the sector to meet key standards and expectations through the code, is an important step in achieving our ambitions.
“Many letting agents already do a great deal to continuously improve standards and inspire confidence amongst landlords and tenants. The introduction of the code means a level playing field for all and ensures clarity on rights, responsibilities and expectations.
“For many people private renting provides a place to call home, and they deserve the necessary standards and protections to find and keep that home. With six months until the code comes into force letting agents must take steps now to be ready for these new ways of working.”
The Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 introduces a regulatory framework for the regulation of letting agents in Scotland. The Scottish Government has developed a guide for those undertaking letting agency work to assist them in meeting the requirements for registration. It is available here
Scottish Government is introducing a number of reforms in the private renting sector through the passage of the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016