Before you register
Before you apply for registration you should make sure that:
- anyone in your business who needs certain qualifications has them
- your business meets the requirements of the Code of Practice
- all your staff understand and follow the Code of Practice
- you hold client money in at least one separate and dedicated client bank account (see section 8, paragraph 118 - 122 of the Code)
- you hold client money protection (see section 8, paragraph 126 of the Code)
- you hold professional indemnity insurance (see section 8, paragraph 130 of the Code)
As part of the application you'll be asked to give proof that your business is complying with the Code and has met the training requirements.
The Letting Agent Code of Practice
The Code of Practice sets out the standards all those doing letting agency work must meet. It came into force on the 31 January 2018.
The Code says lettings businesses must have written procedures in place for things like:
- collecting and handling rent on a landlord's behalf
- managing repairs and maintenance
- managing the ending of the tenancy
- handling client money
- handling complaints
If you need help creating these written procedures for your business, the Scottish Associaion of Landlords website has 9 model procedures available for free.
What you need to do
You must make sure you meet the obligations in the Code from 31 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.
The 'fit and proper person' test
Scottish Ministers will have to decide whether anyone applying for registration is a 'fit and proper person' to carry out letting agency work.
If you're applying as a sole trader, Scottish Ministers will assess you to decide whether you are a 'fit and proper person'.
If you're applying on behalf of a company, partnership or other type of organisation Scottish Ministers will probably need to do a 'fit and proper person' test on a number of people in the company as well as the company itself.
These people are:
- the person who holds the most senior position in the organisation's management structure
- anyone who owns 25% or more of the business
- any other person or business who is (or will be) directly involved in the control or governance of the business's letting agency work
The information you need to give
When you apply for registration you will be asked to give information about yourself and your business. Examples of the types of information you may need to give includes:
- your contact details
- what type of organisation you are
- information about those people in charge of your business
- whether you belong to an industry or professional body
- if you have been convicted of certain offences
This information will help Scottish Ministers to decide if you can join the register and carry out letting agency work.