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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-15356: Murdo Fraser (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 16 March 2018

To ask the Scottish Government whether letting agents that are unable to obtain undesignated client accounts will be given a grace period to comply with the Letting Agent Code of Practice.

Answered by: Kevin Stewart 4 April 2018

The Letting Agent Code of Practice came into force on the 31 January 2018. Section 8 of the Code requires those carrying out letting agency work who hold or handle client money to have one or more separate and dedicated client bank accounts. No grace period is in place or planned in relation to the requirements in the Code.

The Scottish Government recognises that some banks’ restrictions on undesignated (pooled) client banks accounts will mean some of their letting agent clients cannot access a pooled client bank account from their existing bank. However, there are banks and other institutions who do provide a product that meets the requirements of the Code.

The Letting Agent Code of Practice is enforced through the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber). The Tribunal is an independent judicial body and Scottish Ministers do not have powers to direct how the Tribunal operates. However, if a case for breach of the Code is brought in relation to Client Bank Accounts, the Scottish Government expects that the Tribunal will consider all of the facts in the case, including efforts that an organisation has made to secure a separate and dedicated client bank account.