The major legislative changes introduced in Scotland’s letting sector are a major turning point but should not be feared, says one of the country’s top agencies, Galbraith.
The two key legislative changes transforming the residential lettings sector in Scotland are firstly the replacement of Short Assured Tenancies by Private Residential Tenancies, offering tenants increased security of tenure and fewer grounds on which they may be subject to eviction.
Secondly, from January 31, the Scottish government introduced its new code of practice and mandatory register for letting agents. As part of this, key individuals in a lettings agency must meet a new minimum level of training. If they have not undertaken the relevant training or qualifications by September 30 this year they will not be able to continue letting properties.
“Essentially these two legislative changes combined will add up to increased professionalism in the letting sector, particularly in terms of how letting agents operate. All reputable letting agents will already to a large extent be in compliance with the new code” explains Bob Cherry, a partner with Galbraith who manages lettings activity for the firm.
“What will happen is that fewer letting agents will set up in business and potentially fewer new landlords may come into the sector for the first time. As long as landlords take professional advice, they will be well supported to navigate the complexities of the new regulatory regime. In the medium term, rents are likely to rise, which can only be good news for landlords” he adds.
He also says that further legislative changes over the next eighteen months - the change in the minimum energy performance certificate permissible in Scotland - will help to raise standards.
Galbraith lets over 1,000 homes across Scotland, in rural and urban areas.