07 May 2019

Up to one third of lettings agents in Scotland still to register

Up to one third of lettings agents in Scotland still to register

Recent figures from the Scottish Government have revealed that 562 letting agents have had their applications approved and have been issued with a Letting Agent Registration Number.

A new Letting Agent Code of Practice was introduced by the Scottish Government in 2018 which was intended to provide protection to both landlords and tenants, and ultimately raise standards across the industry.

The new regulations mean that letting agents, or anyone managing property in Scotland is required to join a Register of Letting Agents. In order to register, all those affected will need to provide proof they hold a recent, relevant qualification covering the essential aspects of letting agency work at Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework level 6 or above.

A total of 914 applications have been received so far and the Scottish Government has investigated or are currently investigating 114 businesses suspected of carrying out letting agency work without registration. To date 86 compliance letters have been issued along with one power to obtain notice.

The Scottish Government estimates there are around 1500 letting agents currently operating in Scotland.

Aberdein Considine is the largest solicitor letting agent in Scotland and is strongly supportive of the Scottish Government’s aims for the Letting Agent Register. Many of the firm’s lettings staff already held ARLA Propertymark qualifications prior to the introduction of the new legislation and as lawyers were already regulated by the Law Society of Scotland.

Commenting on the importance of registering and meeting the necessary standards Adrian Sangster, Leasing Director for Aberdein Considine said: “It’s positive news that an increasing number of firms are registering however it is a concern, particularly for landlords, that only two thirds have actually done so.

The consequences of not registering are considerable, with possible fines of up to £50,000 and custodial sentences of up to 6 months if convicted.

There is no doubt that both landlords and tenants need to make sure that the letting agent they are dealing with is on the register and one of their first actions should be check this. It can be done very easily by asking for the letting agent registration number.”

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