23 Nov 2017
Firms recognised as 'Regulated by RICS' already guarantee compliance with new Code of Practice for letting agents.
The letting marketplace in Scotland is changing. From 31 January 2018, all those carrying out residential letting agency work in Scotland will be required by law to comply with a Letting Agent Code of Practice
As part of the Code of Practice, all letting agents and agencies must ensure that they have:
- one, or more, separate and dedicated client accounts
- client money protection
- professional indemnity insurance
Letting agents and agencies carrying the ‘Regulated by RICS’ designation already comply with the requirements of the forthcoming Code of Practice and are able to guarantee a professional and ethical service.
Keeping your money safe
Non-RICS regulated firms and practitioners are struggling to acquire the obligatory client accounts, which could cause problems with their adherence to the new Code of Conduct.
More importantly, client accounts keep a client’s money separate from the money in the operational accounts of a firm. They are an absolute necessity to ensure the financial protection of both the landlord and tenant in any given contract.
The use of Client Accounts has been mandatory for RICS regulated firms for many years, and RICS actively monitors firms to ensure their compliance with this requirement.
Regulated by RICS – What does that mean in practice?
Being regulated by RICS means a firms’ policies, processes and accounts are monitored by RICS through visits to offices and remote reviews. RICS audits and examines a firm’s processes and accounts in order to ensure that risks to the interests of clients, and their tenants, are minimised.
Furthermore, RICS professionals working for firms must undergo training and obtain credentials before they can offer their services as a lettings agency in Scotland. Rental portfolios need to be managed by true professionals who have proven expertise in their field, and aware of their ethical responsibilities.
Regulated firms have to observe and comply with the RICS Rules of Conduct for Firms, including working to RICS standards. A letting agent that is regulated by RICS ensures that their firm:
- Practices to globally recognised standards
- Behaves ethically, and acts with integrity and honesty
- Has the required skills and competencies to do the job
- Manages conflicts of interests transparently
- Safeguards the security of client money
- Manages its finances appropriately
- Provides adequate and appropriate indemnity for its work
- Handles complaints and disputes fairly
RICS supports firms in implementing the professions’ standards.
What steps can you take next?
Ask your letting agent whether they are regulated by RICS.
RICS makes the case that to guarantee landlord and tenant protection, all letting agents in Scotland should become regulated by RICS and raise their standards.
You can find RICS regulated firms at www.ricsfirms.com.
Regulated firms display the RICS logo and use the ‘Regulated by RICS’ designation.
‘Regulated by RICS’ stands for the confidence and quality that landlords and tenants seek, and supports a trusted delivery of high service standards.
Further information on the benefits of using an RICS regulated firm is available.
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