February 2016

The Society’s committees have been working on a number of Scottish Parliament and UK Parliament Bills and consultations including the Lobbying Bill, the Transport Bill, the Health and Tobacco Bill, Trade Union Bill (see below) and the Transplant Bill. Other key areas of work are highlighted below. For more information see the law reform section of the website.

Letting Agent regulations

The Society has actively engaged with the Scottish Government over the past 12 months to help ensure that new regulations will improve letting agency standards. The Society submitted a number of suggestions which have been taken on board. The regulations now take into account that solicitors are required to have indemnity to practice and will not be required to take out additional cover. They have also been amended to take into account that solicitors are already required to take anti money-laundering measures and conduct checks.

Concerns remain about a potential for conflict of interest if solicitors are subject to two different regulatory regimes. We would also think that further work is needed to direct letting agents as to a course of action when conflict arises. Issues around confidentiality and whether solicitors will also be subject to a fit and proper test for letting agents are still under discussion with the government. Part 4 of the Housing (Scotland) Bill creates a register of letting agents and requires letting agents to register operating as a letting agent without registration is a criminal offence.

Full details here