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Letter: protest at letting agent regime

7 Nov 18

An objection to the information being required of already regulated solicitors under the new mandatory scheme

by Denise Hooper

I wish to canvass the profession on the new regime introduced by the Scottish Government to regulate all letting services.

I received an email from the Government requesting mandatory registration as a company providing letting services. The form requests full personal details for the directors including current and previous names, addresses for the past five years, any convictions and letting enforcement orders.

As a solicitor and limited company I object to the insistence on personal information. The Government is completely overlooking (1) how regulated we already are as a profession; (2) the trading entity being a limited company and all that entails.

The insistence on focusing on the personal ignores our annual practising certificate regime, our requirement for training, the Society’s regulations, professional indemnity insurance and the Client Protection Fund. Further it overlooks that high street letting agents cannot set up a client account providing extra protection. With a limited company, the liability is with the company not the individual.

I have spoken directly to the Letting Agent Registration Department. I was advised that the Government had consulted with the Society and that in the round it was accepted that personal details would be insisted on. However, the Society advised that it had expressed similar concerns. It appears that the Government has not taken on board the Society’s recommendations and this is disappointing.

I believe the Government’s approach inadvertently undermines the profession. I have intimated my concerns directly to the author, Kevin Stewart MSP. It would be helpful to know members’ views on this matter.

Denise Hooper, Wright & Crawford, Paisley

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