With exactly a year to go until a new framework for the regulation of letting agents in Scotland comes into force (31 January 2018), the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) has embarked on an awareness raising campaign for those who will be affected – including solicitors.
The Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 introduces a framework for the regulation of letting agents across Scotland, which includes the Letting Agent Code of Practice (Scotland) Regulations 2016, which come into force this time next year.
The code of practice, which all letting agents must comply with, covers standards of practice, client money protection covering landlords and tenants, and professional indemnity insurance arrangements. It forms part of a wider framework of changes for letting agents, including mandatory registration with a "fit and proper" person test and training requirements before agents can be accepted onto the register.
A means of redress to the First-tier Tribunal is provided for breaches of the code, and the Scottish Ministers have powers to obtain information and powers of inspection to help monitor compliance.
ARLA has organised a series of free meetings to help those affected understand what they need to do to prepare, and how the legislation will affect them. These are in Aberdeen (2 February), Dundee (22 February), Inverness (23 February), Selkirk (8 March) and Edinburgh (9 March). (Click here for details and to register.)
In addition its annual conference in Glasgow on 1 March will cover the topic.
ARLA President, Nik Madan, commented: “Letting agents play an important part in ensuring the private rented sector is professional and well-managed as well as helping to provide good quality homes which communities in Scotland need. The code reflects much of the existing good practice in the industry and is the most sensible form of agent regulation that we have seen announced anywhere in the UK."