Scottish Property Centre is being added to the Scottish Government-approved Letting Agent Register after six of its staff gained a new industry qualification.
Gregor Cope, Craig Smith and Laura Smith from its Shawlands branch successfully passed the Association of Registered Letting Agents (ARLA) Propertymark exam and are now qualified to work in the industry across Scotland.
Archie Love of Scottish Property Centre’s Motherwell branch and Ross Whiteford and Graham Whiteford, based in Hamilton, were also successful in gaining the qualification, provided by the UK’s largest professional body for letting agents.
The qualification, accredited by the Scottish Qualifications Authority up to SCQF Level 6, covers a range of requirements for professional letting agencies to be listed on the Letting Agency Register.
They include minimum training standards for staff in health and safety, security and general law as well as residential property practice and management.
Since October 1, it has been illegal for letting agents to operate if they have not at least applied to join the register. People carrying out letting agency work in Scotland who have not done so can be fined up to £50,000 or jailed for up to six months.
Archie Love, a Director of Scottish Property Centre, said: “As a company we wholeheartedly welcomed this excellent new qualification which provides security and peace of mind for tenants and landlords, knowing that they are receiving the best possible professional service.
“I’d like to congratulate all of our staff who took the exam and passed with flying colours, allowing us to say with confidence that we are at the very forefront of industry best practice in this field.”
Anyone applying to be on the register must pass a ‘fit and proper person test’ and, when applying on behalf of a company, the Scottish Government can conduct the test on several people in the company.
All agencies must hold client money in a dedicated client account and they must also belong to a CMP scheme and hold professional indemnity insurance.
The private rented sector in Scotland has undergone significant changes in recent years with the introduction of a Private Residential Tenancy, a new Letting Agent Code of Practice, registration and training requirements for all letting agents and the introduction of the First Tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber).
In December 2016, the First-tier Tribunal replaced the Private Rented Housing Panel with the aim of delivering improved access to justice for tenants and landlords in the private rented sector.
Since December last year the Chamber assumed the functions of sheriff courts in dealing with private rented cases, such as rent and repair issues and breaches of the Letting Agent Code of Practice Regulations.
If you’re renting a property or thinking about renting, make sure your letting agent is a member of the Letting Agent Register. For more information contact your local Scottish Property Centre branch.