If you’re thinking about renting in the private rented sector, one of the options is using a letting agency. We explain what letting agencies do, and what their obligations are to ensure standards are met.
What is a Letting Agency?
Letting agencies are private companies that act as the middle ground between the landlord and the tenant. They will carry out work on behalf of the landlord including advertising the property, drawing up the lease, managing the property and arranging repairs. Letting agents play an important role in helping the private rented sector to be professional and well managed.
The Scottish Government have taken steps to regulate the private rented sector to ensure that certain standards are met when renting out properties. They have introduced a framework specifically for the regulation of letting agents. This will help to improve the service and professionalism in the industry. The framework includes:
Register of Letting Agents
The Register of Letting Agents is a list run by Scottish Ministers. Letting agents in Scotland must join the Register of Letting Agents. If they let out properties without being on the Register they are breaking the law. All letting agents that apply will be checked to make sure they are suitable to do letting agency work and that they have met minimum training standards. They must also follow a Letting Agent Code of Practice.
Letting Agent Code of Practice
The Letting Agent Code of Practice came into force in Scotland in 2018. It sets out the service standards that letting agents must meet. It also gives tenants and landlords the ability to challenge poor practice of letting agents.
First-tier Tribunal for Scotland
The First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) was formed to deal with disputes over rent or repair issues within the private rented sector. This means that tenants, landlords and Scottish Ministers can go to the Tribunal if there has been a breach of the Letting Agent Code of Practice. If it is found that a letting agent has not complied with the Code, the Tribunal must issue an enforcement order which will set out what the letting agent needs to do in order to solve the problem.
These measures, in addition to the private residential tenancy agreement, give both landlords and tenants confidence in the standard of service expected from letting agencies. It also gives them the opportunity to challenge letting agencies when standards are poor.
Think renting through a letting agency is the best move for you? Head to our article for information on finding a good letting agency.
Find out more about Private Renting by heading to the New Digs Campaign page