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Scotland’s Annual Letting Agent Conference - Part 2

On Thursday 19th May I attended the Council of Letting Agents Conference in Glasgow and enjoyed a very full day listening to some of the most experienced speakers update the 250 plus delegates on the recent developments and trends in the Scottish private lettings sector.

Kate Faulkner, a property market analyst, shared a large number of interesting statistics from her UK experience, including the fact that there are now 145 rules and regulations that have to be complied with by those letting property in England – she asked what the number was in Scotland but no one seemed to know!

She reminded us that we were not encouraging people to gamble, drink excessive amounts of sugary drinks or alcohol – no! We are ‘putting a roof over people’s heads’ and should be proud and positive about that.

Kate identified the issue as being constant change but little education of enforcement, accompanied by the assumption that the sector will deliver whatever confronts it. The reality is that when compared with the Consumer Price Index, landlords are now getting a wage cut each week!

In order to obtain a successful PRS in Scotland Kate identified the 3 ‘e’s needed as:

  • Excellence
  • Enforcement
  • Education

Together with profitability for those participating or they will seek alternative avenues; in this respect, we were told that 78% of Scottish landlords only have 1 property and many are over 55 and looking for sustainable income in retirement, something that the PRS can no longer provide.

Kate also re-iterated a constant message of the day – namely that rogue agents will continue to survive as long as there is little enforcement allowing them to operate from a lower cost base thus making it difficult for bona fide agents to compete.

Encouraging news was provided by Charlotte McHaffie from the Scottish Government, Better Homes Division, Charlotte is responsible for letting Agent Regulation and gave us an update on the new legislation and what it will require of letting agents who wish to continue to operate in Scotland after 1st January 2018.

Essentially letting agents will need to register and be trained and proven competent to trade. Charlotte also assured everyone that there would be policing of letting agents, enforcement and removal of rogues from the sector – a very welcome message.