The House of Commons Library has published a really interesting Briefing Paper which compares the private rented sector policies in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This shows the impact of devolution in the UK on key policies across the UK affecting the PRS.

For example, there is no letting agent regulation in England and in Northern Ireland.  But in Wales there is shortly to be a requirement for all letting agents to obtain a licence from Rent Smart Wales. In Scotland the 2014 Housing (Scotland) Act introduces a new framework for letting agent regulation.

On fees there is no cap on agent fees in England and Wales although a tariff of fees must be published, whereas in Scotland they are prohibited. In Northern Ireland there is no regulation at all on agent fees.

In our own area of deposits, agents in England and Wales have 30 days in which to protect a deposit and serve Prescribed Information.  In Scotland it is 30 working days (or 6 weeks).  In Northern Ireland it’s 14 days to protect a deposit and 28 days to serve the Prescribed Information. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland agents have access to both insurance backed schemes and custodial schemes but in Scotland it’s custodial only!

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