Letting Agent Registration in Scotland

As of 31 January 2018, anyone involved in lettings works in Scotland needs to register

If you are involved in letting agency works you are now required by law to comply with a Letting Agent Code of Practice and join the newly introduced Register of Letting Agents

The Register is operated by the Scottish Government with an aim of ensuring that letting agents are suitable to provide such services and have met a set of minimum training requirements.  If you are operating as a letting agent and do not meet the requirements of the Code from 31 January 2018, tenants and landlord can apply to the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) to resolve a potential dispute.

Letting agents can apply to join the Register here as well as signing up for further updates from the Scottish Government on the regulation process.  Details of the registration fees for letting agents depending on the number of offices they operate are available here.

Letting agents are required to be registered by 1 October 2018 and it will be a criminal offence to carry out letting work if you are not on the Register. If convicted, you could face a fine of up to £50,000 or up to 6 months in prison or both.

 How will I know if I need to register?

 It is the responsibility of every individual and/or company involved in letting out property in Scotland to decide if the services they carry out require them to register as letting agents. Letting agency work generally means you either: -

  • carry out work for a private landlord who wants to let their property out to a tenant

  • manage a property (including collecting rent, inspecting the property and arranging for repairs and maintenance) which either is currently or is planned to be rented out to a tenant

There is a legal definition of letting agency work you should read when deciding whether you need to register and comply with the Code which is available at section 61 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014.

If you are not sure if this applies to you, you should consider the following:

  • is the work you do for a property owner a business arrangement?

  • do you charge a fee or take another type of payment for the work you do? (Just because you don't take a fee for the work you do, does not automatically mean you are not a letting agent)

  • are you regularly doing work related to letting and managing properties? (If you are regularly doing work for a private landlord, this may be considered a business arrangement)

If you answer yes to the above questions, you probably need to join the register.  If you are a registered landlord and manage your own properties, you do not need to register as an agent. 

However, if you are still not sure, you are advised to seek your own legal advice.

 I know I need to register - what do I need to do?

Before applying for registration, you need to make sure that:-

As part of the registration process you will be required to provide proof your business is complying with the Code and that all training requirements have been met.

For full details of the registration process, differing scenarios and how to register, visit the Scottish Government WebPages Letting Agent Registration available at www.mygov.scot

More information

Shelter Scotland provide information on Letting Agents and the new code of Practice.

 

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