Most people are aware that this relates to landlord/tenant disputes. However the FTT can also be utilised for solutions that extend far beyond the usual landlord/tenant disputes.
Since 31 January 2018, a tenant, landlord or the Scottish Ministers can apply to the FTT where they feel that a letting agent has failed to comply with the letting agent code of practice.
The Letting Agent Code of Practice (Scotland) Regulations 2016 sets out the Letting Agent Code of Practice (‘The Code’). The Code sets out minimum standards of practice for letting agents, covering all aspects of letting agency work. A full copy can be found here.
The Code provides strict rules about handling deposits, client money and taking out professional indemnity insurance.
If a landlord or tenant feels that a letting agent has fallen short of the standards expected of them – an application can be made to the FTT. If the FTT finds that a letting agent has failed to comply with the code of practice they may issue a Letting Agent Enforcement Order (LAEO), determining what action the letting agent must take to rectify their failures. Additionally, a fine may be imposed payable by the letting agent.
The LAEO must state the period within which any action must be taken or any payment required must be made. It is a criminal offence not to comply with an LAEO without reasonable excuse.
This useful tool provides landlord and tenants with necessary standards and protections when letting property.
It is important to note that prior to lodging an application with the FTT – the letting agent must be notified in writing of the reasons why they have failed to comply with the Code – this can often lead to the problem being resolved. The FTT will reject an application if it is not satisfied that the letting agent has been given reasonable time in which to rectify the breach.
At Aberdein Considine, we have a range of specialists in dealing with leases and letting agents. If you feel that your letting agent is not performing to the required standards, we would be delighted to assist and provide advice on raising an action against them.