The Scottish Government, in conjunction with the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) and the Council of Letting Agents (CLA), recently held a series of awareness raising events across Scotland to help letting agents prepare for the Letting Agent Code of Practice Regulations 2016.

Members of the SafeDeposits team attended the events in Dundee and Edinburgh, and we have summarised the key topics covered below:

Requirements on letting agents in Scotland

If you do letting agency work in Scotland you will soon be required by law to:

  • Comply with a Letting Agent Code of Practice (the Code) by 31st January 2018;

  • Join the Register of Letting Agents (the Register) by 30th September 2018.

The Register will be a list run by Scottish Ministers that will make sure every letting agent is suitable to do the job and has met minimum training requirements.

Getting ready for registration

Before you apply for registration you should make sure that:
As part of the application you'll be asked to provide proof that your business is complying with the Code and has met the training requirements.



Registration - qualification and training

Before you can register you have to make sure that everyone in your business who needs to has the correct training.

Those who have to be trained as part of the registration process will need to have a relevant qualification covering essential aspects of letting agency work at, or at the equivalent of, Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) level 6 or above.

If you're applying as a sole trader, the people who need the qualification, plus any necessary training are:

  • You;

  • Every person directly concerned with managing and supervising the day-to-day running of your letting agency work.

If you're applying on behalf of a company, partnership or other body, the people who need the qualification, plus any necessary training are:

  • The person who holds the most senior position in the organisation's management structure (unless they aren't involved in the day-to-day running of the letting agency work);

  • Every person directly concerned with managing and supervising the day-to-day running of the organisation's letting agency work.

If you have an office where letting agency work is done and nobody in that office is listed above, there must be at least one person in that office who meets the training requirement.

There are currently two programmes leading to qualifications that are considered acceptable. They are:
If you already have a relevant qualification but you got it more than 3 years before you apply, you also need to have undertaken 20 hours of letting agency work training over the last 3 years.

This must include at least 15 hours of formal training which could consist of:

  • Courses;

  • Conferences;

  • Lectures;

  • Seminars;

  • Webinars.

You should have a documented evidence (like a certificate) showing that you got the training or that you delivered it.

The rest of the hours needed can be informal training. This may include:

  • Work shadowing and coaching;

  • Informal learning within your company;

  • Interactive discussions with experts;

  • Informal teaching for others;

  • Reading and writing articles on letting agency work.

Making sure your business is compliant with the Code

The Code of Practice sets out the standards all those doing letting agency work must meet.

You must make sure you meet the obligations in the Code from 31st January 2018. If you don't, tenants and landlord can apply to the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) to resolve a dispute.



Penalties for failing to comply

If someone fails to join the Register by the specified date, they will be liable to criminal prosecution, which if convicted could result in a fine of £50,000 and/or up to 6 months imprisonment.

If someone fails 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.

Further information

You may find it helpful to look at the Scottish Government's Letting Agent Registration Guide.

If you would like any further information, you can also email the Scottish Government's letting agent regulation team at lettingagentregulation@gov.scot.

You may also want to contact one of the following organisations for more support and advice:
For more information on the legislation for registering as a letting agent, you can read the following:
Thank you again to the Scottish Government, SAL and CLA for holding the Ready for registration events. As stressed yesterday, there is information and support available to help letting agents prepare for the Code and the Register before the 2018 deadlines. While it might seem like a long way off, the clock is ticking, so don't bury your head in the sand!