Landlords are calling on the government to regulate the UK's private rented property sector to tackle rogue agents and promote professionalism and basic standards. The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) says it wants to see a "new, comprehensive regulatory structure" for people working in property management, lettings and sales, describing mandatory regulation as a "complete win-win".
Under the proposals mapped out by ARLA there would be one overarching industry regulator tasked with managing different accredited industry bodies who would licence and promote best practice amongst landlords, lettings agents, managing agents and estate agents. The move could encourage plenty of new entrants to the property market, with the regulations offering increased security for people looking to invest in property.
All members of the bodies would be required to sign up to a code of practice and demonstrate minimum requirements relating to qualifications, professional indemnity, client money protection and accounting governance. All those operating in the property sector should be required by law to hold membership of one of these accredited bodies, ARLA said.
In a statement the body cited research showing "increased reliance" on the private rented sector in the UK, with over half of its members' offices (57 per cent) saying there are currently more tenants than there are available properties. Private renting is at a 50-year high, with one in six UK households now renting their home from a private landlord, according to the data.
"The PRS is becoming increasingly important - not only to the UK economy, but to the millions of tenants who rely on it for their homes - and it is being dangerously undermined by a minority of agents who fail to adhere to basic standards," said ARLA managing director Ian Potter.
"Regulating the sector is a complete win-win. Tenants will get better quality property and have their rights and money protected; the industry will be rid of unprofessional practice and enjoy a better reputation and the Government will have a simpler system to oversee and ultimately fewer disputes to resolve." Jack Dromey, the shadow housing minister, supported the proposals. "It's right for the tenant. Right for the landlord. Right for the reputable letting agents whose reputation is damaged by rogues," he said.
- Wednesday 03 April 2013