Lettings firms look to drive out rogue operators

Agents handling more than 20,000 properties across Scotland are being encouraged to sign up early for a new programme to drive rogue operators out of the lettings market.

The private sector accounts for more than a third of rented homes. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Today’s “Agency Business” conference in Glasgow will be accepting applications to comply with fresh government regulations that will make it a criminal offence to carry out private rental work without appropriate registration. Those who sign on will be eligible for training courses expected to begin in the summer.

Both registration and training will be mandatory from 2018 following years of lobbying by letting agents concerned about the lack of controls on “cowboy operators” who illegally retain deposits, neglect repairs and otherwise damage the reputation of the industry.

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The “Let Well” programme includes a monitoring scheme, a complaints regime and a code of practice.

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The conference has been organised by the Council of Letting Agents and the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL), and will be attended by some 200 agents from across Scotland.

John Blackwood, chief executive of SAL, said the new measures were long overdue. The private sector now accounts for more than one in three rented homes in Scotland.