A new, statutory Code of Practice for Letting Agents, which forms part of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 and will improve standards and empower tenants, has come into force as of 31 January 2018.
Letting agents are required to join the Scottish Letting Agent Register by 01 October 2018 and key individuals in agencies must meet a minimum level of training. Should they fail to meet the standards expected they can be removed from the register, preventing them from operating as a letting agent.
Landlords and tenants can use the code to challenge poor practice and, if necessary, enforce it through the new First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber).
The code also sets out standards that must be met in how letting agents deliver services. It includes specific requirements on how clients’ money should be handled.
Kenneth Gibson said:
“These reforms, and the need for the sector to meet key standards and expectations, are an important step in achieving the SNP Government’s ambitions to protect tenants’ rights across North Ayrshire and beyond.
“Many letting agents already do a great deal to improve standards and inspire confidence amongst landlords and tenants. The introduction of the code means a level playing field for all and ensures clarity on rights, responsibilities and expectations.
“At the end of 2017, the SNP Government had already introduced the Private Residential Tenancy following the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016, providing tenants more security and stability coupled with safeguards for landlords, lenders and investors.
“The Code of Practice contributes further to that and I encourage every private landlord in North Ayrshire to ensure they register with the Scottish Letting Agent Register via lettingagentregistration.gov.scot.”