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Time is running out to register in Scotland

Monday 17 September 2018

By 1 October, Scottish letting agents must ensure that they have joined the Register of Letting Agents, or they’ll be breaking the law.

The Letting Agent Code of Practice (Scotland) Regulations 2016, came into force at the end of January this year giving agents an eight-month period to familiarise and comply with the new Code of Practice and complete required training. The Register of Letting Agents opened for applications on the same date, but it’s getting closer to the deadline at the end of this month.

Businesses located outside of Scotland that do letting agency work in the Scottish private rented sector are also affected. This means that they will also need to ensure they are complying with the Code of Practice and are registered.

Registration requires evidence that everyone in the business who needs to be correctly trained, holds a relevant qualification covering essential aspects of letting agency work at Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) level 6 or above.

This means that if an application is made by a sole trader, that person and everyone directly concerned with managing and supervising the day-to-day running of letting agency work is qualified. If applying on behalf of a company, partnership or other body, the person with the most senior position (providing they are involved with the day-to-day letting agency work), and every person directly concerned with managing and supervising the day-to-day running of the organisation’s letting agency work will need to be qualified.

ARLA Propertymark members that have achieved Propertymark Qualifications Level 6 Technical Award in Residential Letting and Property Management in the last three years already meet these requirements. As for those that gained this qualification over three years ago, 20 hours of Continued Professional Development (CPD) suffices to bring agents up to standard as long as the agent or property manager has documented evidence of the extra training.

The Code details that agents and property managers will have to be designated as a ‘Fit and Proper’ person, that the letting agency business is a part of a Client Money Protection (CMP) Scheme and has Professional Indemnity Insurance. As required by membership, Scottish ARLA Propertymark members are already covered by the Propertymark CMP Scheme.

Applications for the Register come at a cost, which will depend on the number of letting agency offices that a business has. This fee covers a three-year period and will be subject to an increase should a business make a late application.

How much will it cost?

More on application fee structures can be found on the Letting Agent Registration and Training Requirements section of our website. Where agents apply on or before the deadline, it will cost:

One office - £495

Two to three offices - £595

Four plus offices - £700

Fees increase when a business fails to apply before the deadline, or when a new business carries out letting agency work after 1 October 2018 and before they have applied for the Register:

One office - £765

Two to three offices - £865

Four plus offices - £970

Become an ARLA Propertymark member

We’ve created qualification and training bundles specifically for Scottish agents to support you in complying with the new regulations. They’re available at a discounted cost for a limited time only. To register your interest, email jamiebarr@arla.co.uk

Bundle 1 £300 (save £550)
Includes: Qualification Workbook, two days’ study support & ARLA Propertymark membership.

Bundle 2 £230 (save £470)
Includes: two days’ study support & ARLA Propertymark membership.

Bundle 3 £230 (save £200)
Includes: Qualification Workbook & ARLA Propertymark membership.

What next?

The Scottish Government will be compiling the Register of applicant’s names and addresses and making it available to view by the public. The Code is being enforced through the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber).

From October, it will be a criminal offence to carry out letting agency work in Scotland if not registered or in the process of application to the Register, with fines of up to £50,000 and up to six months in prison if convicted.

When agents and property management staff are registered, they will be given a number allocated to them by the Scottish Government. Staff must ensure that they use this number in all correspondence with landlords and tenants as well as on any advertisements and communications.

Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government and Housing said:

“We are committed to improving standards across the private rented sector. The regulation of letting agents, including mandatory registration and the Letting Agent Code of Practice, will help us to do this. Registration will give tenants and landlords assurance that agents allowed to operate in Scotland are suitable to do so and have met a minimum standard of training on letting agency work.

With under a month to go until the deadline for submitting an application to the Scottish Letting Agent Register, it is essential that all letting agents who wish to continue to work in Scotland get their application in on time.”

Additional resources

We provide a variety of resources for our members to help them understand the regulations. Agents can access six unique Fact Sheets through our Member’s Area which cover the Code of Practice:

  • Working with landlord
  • Lettings activity
  • Communications
  • Management and maintenance
  • Ending the tenancy
  • Handling client money and insurance

We also have a specific Fact Sheet for letting agent registration, that breaks down the legislation and what exactly agents and property managers will have to do. As an extra help, the ‘Safe Guarding Your Money’ leaflet is available to purchase from our online shop, which you can distribute to your landlords and their tenants.

Letting agents can register with the Scottish Government here.