Last year the Scottish Parliament approved the Letting Agent Code of Practice (Scotland) Regulations 2016, due to come into force on 31 January 2018.
These regulations set out a code of practice that all letting agents must comply with, that covers:
- the standards of practice for those carrying out letting agency work;
- the handling of tenants’ and landlords’ money; and
- the professional indemnity arrangements to be kept in place.
The Code forms part of a broader regulatory framework for letting agents, which the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 also introduced. The framework’s main features are:
- a mandatory register for letting agents with an associated ‘fit and proper’ person test;
- powers for Scottish Ministers to set training requirements that must be met before an applicant can be accepted on to the register;
- a means of redress for breaches of the Code to the First-tier Tribunal for landlords and tenants; and
- powers for Scottish Ministers to obtain information, and powers of inspection to help them monitor compliance.
Here at McLean Forth we welcome these measures. Letting agents are important in ensuring that the private rented sector is professional and well managed, and they help to provide the good-quality homes that tenants require. The Code reflects much of the existing good practice in the industry.
Over the last few months we have been reviewing our processes and procedures against the Code and we are delighted to confirm that we have been conducting our business in a way that is fully compliant with the new Code, having only to formalise a few operational matters to meet the detailed requirements. We have also begun a programme of continuing professional development to ensure that we can meet the “fit and proper” person test in each of our offices and to ensure that we will be fully compliant and ready for the mandatory registration of letting agents in Scotland in 2018.