If you are a commercial letting agent Edinburgh based, you will only have a few months to prepare for new standards brought in by the Scottish Government. The new statutory Code of Practice comes into force on 31 January 2018. It will set out the standards on how long letting agents can deliver services. It will also contain specific requirements on how letting agents should handle clients’ money.
Improve standards of service
The Scottish Government will introduce the new policy under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014, following the recent surge in the letting industry. It also comes after increased concerns over poor standards of services and illegal practices carried out by some letting agents.
A consultation carried out in 2015 reviewed a draft statutory code of practice and proposals for training requirements. The consultation later fed into formulating the new Letting Agent Code of Practice. Under the new rules, commercial letting agents must have Client Money Protection and Professional Indemnity Insurance. Letting agents must also join the Scottish Government’s compulsory register of letting agents. Furthermore, key letting agency staff, must receive a basic level of training. Under the new rules, landlords and tenants can challenge poor practice under the new First-tier Tribunal for Scotland.
The new regulations
There are a number of new regulations which will come into force in 2018, including:
Clients become protected from losing money in case anything should go wrong with the let.
Verbal agreements no longer carry any weight. Signed contracts relating to the handling of money and any rent recovery process will become necessary.
All letting agency staff now need to undergo training.
Once these regulations begin, it should help to ensure that letting agents provide a more adequate service for their clients. This means that no matter whether you’re a landlord hoping to let your property out, or a tenant hoping to rent, you will benefit from these regulations.
Be compliant by January 2018
Commercial letting agents have been written to by Housing Minister Kevin Stewart about the changes next year. And with just a few months to go, if you are a letting agent Edinburgh based, be sure to review their procedures now, to ensure you comply come January 2018.