With Scotland taking the lead on driving up standards in the private rented sector, a recent report has shown how professional bodies and qualifications can be vital in obtaining the knowledge and confidence to provide a better service for landlords and their tenants.

The report from the Charted Institute of Housing has outlined that 93% of survey respondents had undertaken an appropriate qualification, and 96% of respondents had met the 20 hours CPD requirements over a three-year period. Out of these, 87% of letting agents who had done a qualification said they felt a positive impact on their professional capabilities.

Since October 2018 when the Register for Letting Agents in Scotland opened, it is illegal to carry out letting agency work if the agent is not on the register. Agents must meet a certain criterion in order to register and have to comply with a code of practice.

The process was introduced in the hope that poor practice would be eradicated along with poor housing.

The report shows that not only agents are feeling the shift in professional standards, but agents’ clients are also feeling the change. 51% of landlords said that requirement for letting agent qualifications had been a positive thing for the private rented sector overall.

Expanding letting agent qualifications

With this positive impact evident and the Scottish Government keen to raise standards through their scrutiny of the private rented sector, it seems logical that the requirement for qualification is expanded to all those working in the sector across all UK countries.

84% of letting agents said the introduction of qualifications has been positive for the sector overall, highlighting more people looking at property agency as a long-term professional career option.

The Scottish Government Draft Rented Strategy presents an opportunity to look at expanding qualification to all and ensuring CPD is carried out annually rather than the current regulatory criteria of 20 hours over three years.

Additional knowledge can only help in driving up the standards of property management and therefore the experience of tenants, on which the government’s focus is largely resting.

The CIH report includes Propertymark Qualifications Level 6 Award in Residential Letting and Property Management as a leading qualification. It also details the positive attitudes agents held towards CPD which members of Propertymark have full access to log and maintain through a variety of training, webinars and events.