Letting Agent Registration
Letting Agent Registration
The Scottish Government has just published its guidance on letting agent registration. A copy of which can be accessed using this link: https://www.mygov.scot/letting-agent-registration/
Who needs to register?
Anyone carrying out letting agency work will be required to join the Register of Letting Agents (the Register) and comply with the Letting Agent Code of Practice (the Code). Section 61 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 defines ‘letting agency work’ as:
- Carrying out work for a private landlord who wants to rent their property out to a tenant, and/or
- Managing a property (including collecting rent, inspecting the property and arranging for repairs and maintenance) which either is currently or is planned to be rented out to a tenant.
If, by the 30th September 2018, you have not joined the Register you will be liable to criminal prosecution, which if convicted could result in a fine of £50,000 and/or up to 6 months imprisonment.
Prior to Registration
The guidance provides a checklist, which is required to be fulfilled prior to registration to ensure:
- All staff qualification requirements are satisfied
- Your business satisfies the requirements laid out in the Code
- All staff have a good understanding of the Code
- All client money is held in at least one separate and dedicated bank account
- You hold Client Money Protection
- You hold Professional Indemnity Insurance
Letting Agents will be required to ensure that they satisfy all requirements of the Code by 31st January 2018. If Letting Agents fail to ensure compliance with the Code by the specified date, tenants and landlords can apply to the First-Tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) to resolve any dispute.
An application to the Register is subject to a ‘fit and proper’ person test. If you are a sole trader, an assessment on you individually will be carried out to ascertain if you are eligible. If you are applying on behalf of a company, partnership or other type of organisation, the organisation itself will be subject to assessment along with the following individuals:
- the individual who holds the most senior position in the organisation’s management structure;
- anyone who owns 25% or more of the business; and
- any other person or business who is (or will be) directly involved in the control or management of the business’s letting agency work.
Training and Qualifications
To be successful in your application to the Register, you must ensure all staff who are required to be trained hold a qualification which covers essential aspects of letting agency work at (or equivalent of) Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) level 6 or above such as the Property Market Level 6 Technical Award. If any member of staff’s qualification is over three years old, a refreshment course must be completed prior to registration.
The status of the Applicant to the Register determines who is required to hold a qualification and carry out any necessary training. If you are applying as a sole trader, both you and all members of staff directly concerned in the managing and supervising of the letting agency work will be required to hold a relevant qualification.
If a company, partnership, or other type of organisation is applying for registration, the person who holds the most senior position (unless they are not concerned in the day-to-day running of letting agency work) and all members of staff directly concerned with the day-to-day managing and supervising of the day-to-day running of letting agency work will require to meet the training requirements.
Those who already hold an SCQF level 6 qualification but it is older than three years must complete at least 20 hours of training, 15 hours of formal training within the three years prior to registration. The remaining 5 hours of training may be comprised of more informal activities.
Protecting Client Money and Indemnity Insurance
To comply with the Code, you must ensure:
- you have you have one, or more, separate and dedicated client account
- you have client money protection
- you have professional indemnity insurance
When Can I apply?
Applicants will most likely be able to apply from early 2018 and must have lodged an application by 30th September 2018.
What Happens if my Application is Unsuccessful?
If your application is unsuccessful you will be given reasons for the rejection. You will have the right to argue your case in writing as to why you believe your application should be successful. If your application remains unsuccessful, you will be given further reasons why your case in writing was rejected.
You have a further right to appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber). You must lodge your appeal within 21 days of being told your application was refused. If, on appeal, the Tribunal agrees with you, you will be entered into the Register.
If you wish to discuss this or any other private tenancy matter, please contact Rory Cowan on 0141 221 6020 or firstname.lastname@example.org