The Scottish Government has launched a consultation period for its proposed Code of Practice for Letting Agents.
The proposed Code of Practice also includes a requirement for letting agents to undergo training before they can be added to a register.
Under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014, a regulation framework for Scottish agents has been proposed and includes:
- A mandatory register for letting agents with an associated ‘fit and proper’ person test
- A training requirement that must be met before an applicant can be admitted to the register
- A statutory code of practice all letting agents must follow
- A way for tenants and landlords to resolve complaints against letting agents for breaches of this Code through a new specialist First-tier Tribunal
- Powers for Scottish Ministers to obtain information and of inspection to monitor compliance and enforce regulatory requirements
“The Scottish Government wants to see a private rented sector that provides good quality homes and high management standards, inspires consumer confidence and encourages growth,” comments Margaret Burgess, Scottish housing minister.
“Letting agents are vital to helping achieve this vision, and this new framework, including the code of practice, will support the industry to improve standards, provide a good service to both landlords and tenants, and empower customers.”
Brian Callaghan, joint managing director and founder of Letting Solutions in West Lothian, says that the code is a useful step forward towards raising standards in the industry.
“Unfortunately the Scottish Government’s enthusiasm for regulating letting agents has not been matched by similar proposals for landlords, where there are still widespread problems, especially where letting agents are not involved,” he says.
“We have the usual mix of accreditation schemes run nationally and locally, but nothing much with teeth, and as always the landlords who sign up for these things and who use agents may not be the ones who need watching the most. Unfortunately in my view the Scottish Government has not adequately harnessed the power of agents in raising landlord standards.”
In the press release issued by the Scottish Government, it states that the Code of Practice will be 'fundamental to the effectiveness of the new regulatory framework'.
Responses to the consultation, which closes on November 15, will be used to determine the training requirements and finalise the Code of Practice.
Written responses are being invited and the consultation can be accessed here.