Report on Letting Agent Enforcement Orders
Since January 2018 letting agents in Scotland have been required to comply with a statutory code of practice. Landlords and tenants who believe an agency they’ve used has failed to adhere to the code can make an application to the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber). Where the tribunal decides that the letting agent has failed to comply, it must issue a Letting Agent Enforcement Order (LAEO) requiring the agent to take steps to rectify the failure. This can include a requirement to pay compensation to the party who brought the action. All decisions made by the tribunal are published on its website and can be read here.
An analysis of compensation awards issued against agents by the tribunal has recently been published by the Legal Services Agency. It analysed 58 cases, 36 of which were brought by landlords and 22 by tenants. In 46 of the cases, compensation awards were made. The report focuses on analysing the amounts of compensation awarded for non-financial loss i.e. for stress/inconvenience/anxiety. The amounts awarded for this ranged from £75 to £2500. The report’s authors state that the tribunal’s decision making when awarding compensation for non-financial loss has been somewhat inconsistent. This is partly due to a lack of specification in the legislation to guide the tribunal on how much to award for such losses. It is also due to there having been no successful appeals to the Upper Tribunal so far. If a case is appealed and decided on by the Upper Tribunal then this should provide some much needed clarification as Upper Tribunal decisions are binding on future First-tier Tribunal cases. The report can be read here.
SAL has a suite of resources to help our letting agent members comply with the letting agent code of practice and these can be found here, (members please remember to log in to download resources).
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