Part 4 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 makes provision for the registration, regulation and training requirements for letting agents in Scotland. The provisions include a mandatory register of letting agents with an associated 'fit and proper' person test, training requirements, a code of practice to which all letting agents must adhere and enforcement through the new First- Tier tribunal.
In February 2016, The Letting Agent Code of Practice (Scotland) Regulations 2016 were laid before the Scottish Parliament and are set to come into force on 31st January 2018. The code sets out the standard of conduct expected of letting agents.
Under section 32(2)(c) of the 2014 Act, the Scottish Ministers have now put forward proposals on the training requirements that letting agents must meet to be admitted to the register.
The proposals are outlined below.
Persons required to undertake training are:
- the most senior person in a letting agency business (unless they have no input into the letting agency's day-to-day running)
- all persons directly concerned with managing and supervising of a business letting agency work
Additionally, those applying to the register must have at least one person per office (where relevant work is carried out) who has met the training requirements.
Persons in the above roles will be required to hold a qualification at Scottish Credit Qualification Framework (SCQF) Level 6 or above for the business to be admitted to the register. Where the qualification was obtained more than 3 years ago, persons will be required to have undergone 20 hours (15 formal and 5 informal) of training over the previous 3 years.
Such training must be undertaken on the following matters:
- legal obligations relating to letting agency work and the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords;
- handling of tenants'and landlords' money;
- arranging and managing a tenancy;
- managing repairs and maintenance and
- customer communications, complaints handling and equality.
The Scottish Ministers have indicated that they are agreed in principle to this approach. However, it will be for any new administration after the forthcoming May election to confirm them and to bring forward legislation to bring the proposals into effect.
The proposal is that the register will begin accepting applications in early 2018 and the suggestion is that those wishing to become a registered letting agent should have attained a relevant qualification prior to first registration.
For more information or advice on letting agent training requirements, contact our team.