Why you need a registered letting agent
Letting agent registration was introduced by the Scottish Government in January 2018. One year on, and three months after the compulsory registration date, we look at why it is important to check if your letting agent is registered.
What is the Register of Letting Agents?
Before January 2018, the act of letting a property was largely unregulated. Anyone could let a property without adhering to a set code of standards. Landlords were routinely working with agents who were not qualified or adequately insured to manage their property, creating risk for both landlords and tenants.
The Letting Agent Code of Practice was introduced by the Scottish Government as a means to regulate the industry by providing a set of rules that all letting agents must follow. The Code outlines the minimum standard your letting agent must meet when:
- Dealing with tenants
- Advertising a property
- Managing a tenancy
- Collecting rent
- Dealing with property repairs
- Ending a tenancy
In addition to following these rules, all letting agents have to join the Register of Letting Agents. The purpose of the register is to ensure that all letting agents are suitable to manage your property and have met the minimum training requirements set out in the Code.
Any letting agents who did not join the register by 1st October 2018 and are still operating as a letting agent is breaking the law. If convicted, they would face a fine of up to £50,000, up to 6 months imprisonment or both.
Why the letting agent register is important for landlords
The criteria to join the Register of Letting Agents is strict and means a considerable step up in terms of service from what most letting agents had previously been providing. This meant a busy 2018 for letting agents, introducing new processes and implementing training, but also a (much more) professional and progressive industry for Scottish landlords.
If your letting agent is on the register, you know that:
- Your agent has been deemed a ‘fit and proper person’ to manage your property
- Your agent is qualified to manage your property
- Your agent meets the requirements of the Code of Practice and all staff understand the Code of Practice
- Your agent holds money in a separate client account and holds client money protection
- Your agent holds professional indemnity insurance
At Clan Gordon, we have been regulated by ARLA and RICS for many years, so already complied with the majority of the criteria required to join the Register of Letting Agents. To ensure compliance with the Letting Agent Code of Practice, we have created a new terms of business document, fully protecting the interests of our landlords and tenants.
How to check if your letting agent is registered
Finding out if your letting agent is registered – and therefore legally allowed to manage your rental property – is easy. Simply search the letting agents register by entering the agents company name or letting agent registration number.
Your letting agent is required to display their unique letting agent registration number on all communications and advertising.