The Regulation of Letting Agents 1st Sep 2016

As our landlords know, the lettings industry is becoming increasingly regulated – both for landlords and their properties, and for letting agents. The Key Place embraces the change as it is raising standards across the industry as a whole; something which is long overdue.

The increased regulation is largely driven by the massive growth in our rental population, and an awareness that something needs to be done to protect tenants from unscrupulous landlords and agents. There is a recognition that letting agents have an important role to play within this sector.

The Key Place is a member of lead industry bodies, and we are therefore fully aware of all regulatory and legislative requirements as they are introduced. We update our landlords as these come into play, and pass on relevant information or action any necessary works on your behalf.

As far as letting agents are concerned, there are currently a number of schemes in operation which aim to promote best practice within the sector (The Key Place is a member of these schemes and adheres to their policies); however agents are not required to be a member or to follow the codes of practice. For now, anyone can set themselves up as a letting agent and unfortunately in some cases, this can lead to the exploitation of landlords or tenants. A number of industry bodies believe regulation is needed to offer protection to landlords and tenants, and to make the system fair and consistent.

Letting agent regulation will be rolled out from 31st January 2018. A draft code of practice for letting agents (The Letting Code of Practice (Scotland) Regulations 2016) has been released by the government. This document sets out the required standards of letting agents in Scotland with regard to how they manage their business and provide their services. A Register of Letting Agents will be introduced in 2018, and inclusion on the Register is expected to require a relevant qualification.

In preparation for this, The Key Place has been reviewing procedures over recent months, and has invested heavily in implementing new procedures where necessary, along with staff training. Ultimately all of this will improve professionalism which will benefit our landlords and tenants. The Key Place's suite of procedures and checklists was given an excellent rating recently by the Landlord Accreditation Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Association of Landlords.

I therefore thought it would be of interest to our landlords to understand what is involved in some of these procedures. A tenant check in or check out may sound like a straightforward process, however it is now far more complex than you might imagine. In this month’s newsletter we look at how The Key Place deals with these 2 procedures – check ins, and check outs (see accompanying newsletter articles).