Landlord and letting agent accreditation and regulation
There are several options for landlords and letting agents in Scotland who want to show prospective tenants that they are reputable and what they can expect. Being accredited shows that you are exceeding the minimum legal requirements and could help tenants to choose between landlords.
In Scotland there is no compulsory regulation of letting agents. Some are qualified chartered surveyors and therefore compelled to be regulated by a professional body (the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, RICS – see RICS' leasing and letting digest), whilst other firms are licensed or accredited in some other way. Most private landlords need to be registered with their local authority, so make sure you do this.
The three membership organisations shown below can all offer tenants means of redress if one of their members is found to have not kept to the standards of the organisation. They each have their own standards or code of practice for their members – if you’re a landlord and use a letting agent you could ask them if they are members of any of these or other accreditation or professional bodies. If you're a tenant you could ask your landlord or letting agent if they are accredited by these or other bodies.
Landlord Accreditation Scotland
Both landlords and letting agents can be accredited by Landlord Accreditation Scotland (LAS). LAS provides core standards as guidance but there is no enforcement of these standards.
Association of Residential Letting Agents
This is a professional body for letting agents. The Association of Residential letting Agents (ARLA) provides a self-regulation model for the industry.
The Property Ombudsman
Membership of the Ombudsman scheme is open to estate agents and lettings and property management agents. The TPO tries to help resolve disputes between letting agents who have joined the scheme and their tenants in a fair, free and independent manner.