Scottish Letting Agent Register and Letting Agent Code of Practice

The Register for Letting Agents in Scotland opened on 31 January 2018, marking a new era in the professionalisation of the industry in Scotland. In accordance with the Code of Practice, agents were given eight months to familiarise themselves with the Code and complete any training that needed to be done to fulfil the criteria. Since 1 October 2018, it is a criminal offence to carry out letting agency work in Scotland if agents aren’t on the Register.

More info...

David Cox

David Cox

Chief Executive, ARLA Propertymark

Commenting on the Register opening for applications:

“This is watershed moment for the industry. We have long campaigned for the regulation of letting agents both north and south of the border and are pleased the Scottish Government has picked up the mantle and introduced minimum standards.

"The requirements, mirroring ARLA Propertymark’s membership criteria, will hopefully drive up standards in the industry, improve the quality of property management for tenants, and eliminate those rogue and criminal agents who bring the industry into disrepute.”

The Housing (Scotland) Act was passed on 1 August 2014 and sets out the Scottish Government’s plan to improve levels of service and professionalism from letting agents. This involves the creation of a Register of letting agents in Scotland, a ‘Fit and Proper Person Test’ and a Code of Practice that all letting agents must follow. More info...

March 2016 | Letter from Charlotte McHaffie, Scottish Government Housing, Regeneration and Welfare Directorate

“I would like to thank you for ARLA Propertymark’s involvement to date in implementing Part 4 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 (2014 Act). I have very much appreciated ARLA’s input and support, which has assisted the Scottish Government to meet its requirements to lay a draft letting agent code of practice in the Scottish Parliament.”

OUR POSITION

ARLA Propertymark has long campaigned for greater regulation for letting agents and believe that mandatory qualifications will promote professionalism and basic standards within lettings that will benefit businesses and consumers.

The Scottish Government have achieved a much better balance of agent regulation than what has been introduced in Wales. Whereas the Welsh Government’s policy intention through Rent Smart Wales is looking at training and the registration of property, the aim of the Scottish Government’s agent regulation is to ensure that every agent involved in lettings has the right skills to do the job and meets minimum training standards.

The Scottish Government, through letting agent regulation, are introducing obligations for individuals employed in the industry, along with wider obligations for agencies. All agencies will need to ensure relevant staff are qualified and that staff understand and follow the Code of Practice.

However, the Scottish Government have nonetheless created an administrative registration process which effectively duplicates the work already done by the professional bodies and whilst it is much less onerous than Rent Smart Wales, we continue to question its necessity when they could have chosen to require all agents to be members of approved professional bodies who would have borne this administrative burden themselves.

Therefore, whilst the Scottish model of agent regulation reflects existing good practice in the industry and is the most sensible form of agent regulation that we have seen, there can be further improvements made to reduce bureaucracy, ensure robust consumer protection whilst simultaneously re-purposing resources from administration to enforcement.

QUALIFICATION RECOGNITION

The Scottish Government recognised that it is essential all letting agents are professionals offering high standards of service. Unlike the training requirement through Rent Smart Wales, achieving a qualification should never be a box ticking exercise.

Completing the right qualification drives the credibility of the sector and equips agents with the tools to meet the challenges ahead. In Scotland, Propertymark Qualifications’ equivalent qualification (Level Six Award in Residential Lettings and Property Management) is recognised as one of two acceptable qualifications. More info...

CONSULTATIONS

In November 2015, we responded to the Scottish Government’s consultation ‘Draft statutory Code of Practice and training requirements for letting agents in Scotland’

Read our response