0:02 AM, 17th January 2023, About A year ago
The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Scotland says that investing in ongoing professional development and housing qualifications help to improve agent practice in the country’s private rented sector.
The CIH has published an independent review of the training and qualifications needed for letting agencies – and it highlights how these have improved professionalism among agents.
The review was paid for by SafeDeposits Scotland Charitable Trust, and the report shows how the professionalising of letting agencies in Scotland helps to boost the sector.
Isobel Thomson, the chief executive of safeagent, said: “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.”
She added: “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.”
Ms Thomson says that agents need to incorporate professional development into their working day, and while some agents will see training requirements as a burden instead of an essential tool, they need to understand that accreditation helps tenants and landlords – and the agent be competitive in the market.
She said: “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.”
Training will agents stay abreast of the knowledge they need to operate effectively and everyone in the PRS has a responsibility to bring about this change in perception.
Nearly 900 people have started the safeagent Foundation Lettings Course Scotland with content informed by agents’ experiences to benefit those who will complete the training in the future.
Ms Thomson said: “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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