CIH Scotland welcomes new clarification on registration of letting agents
The Chartered Institute of Housing in Scotland (CIH Scotland) has welcomed the publication of new guidance on registration of letting agents ahead of the new code of practice coming into force next year.
Under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014, all letting agents operating in Scotland are required to sign up to a new compulsory register by the end of September 2018. The Act also requires letting agents to abide by a statutory Code of Practice, to be listed on a public register, whilst key individuals will also be required to meet a new, tough, minimum level of training.
New guidance on the introduction of a compulsory register of letting agents has been published today by the Scottish Government which provides advice on who is and isn’t required to register.
Landlord Accreditation Scotland (LAS) and CIH Scotland have developed a new professional development programme called LETWELL designed specifically with the new requirements in mind and the CLA is urging everyone in the sector to ensure they comply with the new rules and undertake the proper training.
CIH Scotland executive director, Annie Mauger, said: “This new guidance provides welcome clarification on the roll-out of letting agent regulation and the establishment of a new register of letting agents in the course of next year. Fulfilling the requirements in relation to training in particular will require letting agents to plan ahead. Working in partnership with Landlord Accreditation Scotland, CIH Scotland has developed the LETWELL training programme with the specific purpose of helping letting agents meet their new legal obligations – but also to drive up standards within the sector more generally.
“CIH would strongly encourage everyone working in the sector to familiarise themselves with this new guidance and to make sure they have plans in place to prepare for letting agent regulation when it comes into force next year.”
Scotland’s largest professional organisation for letting agents is urging agents and others involved in property letting to ensure they are fully compliant with the new regulations.
The Council of Letting Agents (CLA) said that whilst some involved in the sector have signed up to the necessary training already, many seem to be unaware of the impending deadlines or the impact the changes will have on their business.
Agents, lawyers and others who will need to comply with the new regulations are being urged to join the CLA to receive a discount on the LETWELL training programme along with a host of other benefits to help their business.
Chair of the CLA Policy Group, Amanda Wiewiorka, said: “The CLA strongly welcomes the new regulation for letting agents which will help professionalise our sector and drive rogue players out of our market, ensuring a higher level of service for customers.
“We have seen a steady increase in awareness amongst letting agents but there is still more to be done to ensure everyone who needs to be is compliant by the deadline. As well as agents, lawyers who undertake letting work will also be required to be on the register and, in some cases, complete additional training and qualification.
“One way of ensuring compliance is to join organisations such as the CLA as soon as possible. As well as receiving a discount on the LETWELL training programme, membership opens the door to a huge number of benefits for lawyers who also do letting. Membership includes access to documents and a helpline, regular updates and information as well as regular networking opportunities.”
Housing minister Kevin Stewart added: “I very much welcome the support of the Council of Letting Agents and other industry bodies in raising awareness of these important changes to the letting agent industry. A Registration Guide is now available from the Scottish Government to help letting agents understand what letting agent regulation will mean for their business.
“With under a year to go until letting agent regulation begins, letting agents must start to take steps to make sure that they comply with the Code of Practice and have the necessary qualification and training. I would encourage those who must meet the training requirements to sign up with one of the qualification providers (LETWELL or Propertymark Qualifications) as soon as possible.”