Letting agents in Scotland have been sent a crucial reminder by the Government – that in less than six months’ time, it will be a criminal offence to do letting agency work without having applied to join the Scottish Letting Agent Register.
The deadline for applications is October 1.
If agents do lettings work without being on the register, they could face fines of up to £50,000 or six months in prison – or both.
Agents whose business is geographically outside Scotland but are doing letting agency work in the country will also need to join the register.
Letting agents must also follow a mandatory code of practice, hold client money separately, and also have Client Money Protection and Professional Indemnity insurances.
In applying for registration, agents must give certain information about themselves, including if they have been convicted of certain offences.
A single office must pay a registration fee of £495 to last three years; a business with two or three offices must pay £595; and the cost to businesses with four or more branches is £700.
New businesses, and those which fail to apply by October 1, will pay more: £765, £865 and £970 respectively.
Those agents operating exclusively south of the border might like to take note of the requirements, since what happens in Scotland tends to happen in England a little later. A prime example is the tenancy fees ban.
In England, both Client Money Protection insurance and registration are due to become mandatory. See next story.