Letting agent regulation in Scotland

Scottish Letting Agent Register and Code of Practice

The Register for Letting Agents in Scotland opened on 31 January 2018, marking a new era of professionalism for the lettings industry in Scotland. Agents were given eight months to familiarise themselves with the Code of Practice and complete any training required to fulfil the criteria. Since 1 October 2018, it has been a criminal offence to carry out letting agency work if an agent is not on the register.

Join the register

David Cox

David Cox
ARLA Propertymark Chief Executive

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'The register opening for applications is a 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—which mirror our membership criteria—will hopefully drive up standards in the industry, improve the quality of property management for tenants and eliminate those rogue agents who bring the industry into disrepute'.

The Housing (Scotland) Act

The Housing (Scotland) Act was passed on 1 August 2014, it sets out the Scottish Government’s plans 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 which all letting agents must follow.

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'I would like to thank ARLA Propertymark for their involvement to date in implementing Part 4 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 (2014 Act). I have very much appreciated ARLA Propertymark’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'. Charlotte McHaffie, Scottish Government Housing, Regeneration and Welfare Directorate

ARLA Propertymark’s campaign

We long campaigned for greater regulation for letting agents. We believe that mandatory qualifications will promote professionalism and basic standards within lettings which will benefit both businesses and consumers.

The Scottish Government have achieved a much better balance of agent regulation than what was introduced in Wales. Rent Smart Wales looks at training and the registration of property, whereas the focus of the Scottish Government’s agent regulation is to ensure that every agent involved in lettings has the right skills to do the job.

Through letting agent regulation, the Scottish Government are introducing obligations for individuals, along with wider obligations for agencies. All those managing and supervising day-to-day letting agency work need to be on the register and inclusion requires a qualification. The Level 6 Award in Residential Letting and Property Management offered by Propertymark Qualifications is one of two qualifications currently accepted by the Scottish Government.

Get qualified

They have however created an administrative registration process which essentially duplicates the work already done by professional bodies. Whilst it is much less onerous than Rent Smart Wales, we continue to question its necessity when they could require that all agents are members of an approved professional body who would take on this administrative burden themselves.

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