First letting agents graduate from new training course
The first letting agents to have completed a new training course designed to improve services for tenants and landlords have been celebrated at the largest annual gathering of the sector.
Around 50 of the 81 graduates so far met with Kevin Stewart MSP, minister for local government and housing, at ‘The Agency Business’ conference in Glasgow on Saturday after completing a new professional development programme called LETWELL specifically developed by Landlord Accreditation Scotland (LAS) and the Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland (CIH Scotland) with the new requirements in mind.
A total of 81 people, from across Scotland, are the first to complete the LETWELL training course helping them to be compliant with new rules which include extensive training, a statutory Letting Agency Code of Practice and being listed on a public register. These requirements will be mandatory for letting agents and relevant staff in the sector by January 2018.
‘The Agency Business’ was organised by the Council of Letting Agents (CLA), the largest membership organisation for letting agents in Scotland. Delegates heard about a range of issues in addition to the new letting agent regulations including digital marketing, holiday lets and the future growth of the sector in Scotland.
A spokesperson for LETWELL said: “The graduation of these first 81 learners marks a new era of excellence for the letting agency sector in Scotland. Our training programme has been developed by LAS and CIH Scotland and is specifically designed to ensure that those who take part in the programme will comply with the new requirements. We are also grateful for the support of the Council of Letting Agents (CLA) and the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) in promoting the course and encouraging people to sign up.
“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 register and, in some cases, complete additional training and qualification.”
Kevin Stewart said: “Letting agent regulation is an important tool to raise standards of service and support professional excellence across the sector. Before a letting agent business can apply to join the register in 2018, each agency must have key people in place who are appropriately qualified and trained and so I was pleased to be able to congratulate the first 50 agents who have graduated from the LETWELL training.
“I am pleased to have the support of the industry’s professional bodies as we work together to raise standards across the board. I would urge letting agents to make good use of the available time to ensure they know what will be expected of them within this new regulatory framework and to follow the example set by these learners.”
Amanda Wiewiorka, owner and managing director of Wardhaugh Property, says that while she is pleased to be the first letting agent in Angus and the wider Tayside region to complete the training, she is concerned that some agents are still unaware of the impending deadlines and the impact these new regulations will have on their business.
Commenting on the achievement, Amanda, who is also chair of the policy group for the CLA, said: “I am delighted to be the first practitioner in Angus and Tayside to complete the LETWELL training and associated CIH level 3 Certificate in Letting and Managing Residential Property. When the rest of my staff complete the training later this year we hope to be one of the first letting businesses in Scotland to be fully compliant with the new regulations.
“I strongly welcomed these regulations when they were announced earlier this year as I believe they are essential to help further professionalise our sector and drive rogue players out of the market. We want our customers, whether they are landlords or tenants, to know that with us they will receive some of the best service in the country.”
Alice Cochrane, a letting agent from Inverness who was also amongst the group, added: “The training we received was first class and delivered in a way that really made it practical for our business. It is critical that those involved in letting property deliver a fully professional service to all of our tenant and landlord customers. I would urge anyone in the sector who thinks they might be required to take this training, or even feel it will be beneficial, to sign up as soon as possible.”