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Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland review of agent qualifications – safeagent view

11th January 2023

The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH)’s review of letting agent qualifications in Scotland has now been published.

The review, commissioned following the introduction of the Letting Agent Code of Practice in 2018, assessed whether the requirement of mandatory training for letting agents has enhanced professionalism and outcomes in the PRS.

The findings from the review are now available in a full report that can be found here.

Access to relevant, flexible industry training is the cornerstone of maintaining professionalism and high standards of service delivery for the lettings agents.

As a provider recognised by the Scottish Government, safeagent is committed to delivering a programme of training material that not only fulfils legislative requirements, but enhances the value of the vital work our agents do.

Reflecting on the CIH’s findings, our chief executive, Isobel Thomson, says:

“The Letting Agent Code of Practice is there to improve outcomes for all those served by the PRS in Scotland – it’s why we align our training so closely to it.

“From supporting enforcement to helping landlords understand their responsibilities and tenants their rights, agents are the glue that holds the PRS together. Investing in them as professionals is crucial – as the CIH’s review of qualifications rightly points out.

“Embedding professional development in law was the starting point in 2014 – but qualifications must be accessible and affordable. The CIH’s review has reinforced how important it is for Scottish Government, training providers and the wider lettings industry to work together to ensure this is the case.

“Agents need to be able to incorporate professional development into their working day, so being flexible is key. That’s why we offer a blend of formal qualification, varied CPD packages as well as micro-learning modules – so that agents can build a programme that suits them.

“As the review highlights, there are some agents that still see training requirements as a burden instead of an essential tool.  We must change that by focusing not only on how accreditation helps tenants and landlords, but also on how it helps agents be competitive in the market.

“We need a mix of carrot and stick. Enforcement is critical, but so is incentivising professional development and making sure agents see the benefits. This will help encourage compliance, rather than impose it, and is the only way to bring about a wider cultural shift which will be more sustainable in the long run.

“Industry training is there to ensure agents can stay abreast of the knowledge they need to operate effectively. There is so much good work being done already in the PRS and celebrating those successes must be part of the conversation.

“We all have a collective responsibility to bring about this change in perception. safeagent listens to our agents’ needs and experiences, as well as wider industry and regulatory guidance, to inform training material that can make a difference.

“Nearly 900 learners have started our Foundation Lettings Course Scotland – we work closely with attendees to ensure all content is informed by their experience, to benefit those who will complete the training in the future.

“The CIH’s review is another important piece of the evidence base we’ll be using to make sure our training is as useful and impactful as it can be.”

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