Last week was a big week for the UK's growing and increasingly vital private rented sector, or rather the regulation, or lack thereof.
The Scottish government published a review of its strategy for the PRS May 30, while the Welsh Government is due to introduce a Housing Bill before the end of this Assembly term, legislating for a compulsory licensing scheme for all letting agents in Wales, as well as a code of practice.
The Scottish government highlighted the importance of making regulation robust, particularly in its enforcement. It set out goals including improved access to legal redress when things go badly for both tenants and landlords, as well as increasing the resources available to local authorities to enforce the regulations.
Ian Potter, Managing Director or ARLA responded to the document:
"We welcome the proposals for improving standards in the Scottish PRS, as outlined in the Scottish Government's PRS Strategy paper, and share its ambitions. Renting is increasing in popularity and prevalence and consumers need to be confident that they are protected in the event of something going wrong. While ARLA requires its agents to adhere to a strict code of conduct and have client money protection in place, until this is the same for all agents, tenants and landlords are at risk."
"We look forward to working with the Scottish Government on furthering these actions, to ensure tenants and landlords are better protected. ARLA has been calling for regulation of the sector across the UK for a number of years and, as more and more people rent rather than own their home, it is vital that legislation is introduced. "
Meanwhile Westminster's stance continues to be opposed to regulation of the sector. This, according to ARLA leaves English tenants at greater risk from rogue letting agents and landlords.
Last week ARLA highlighted the risk that English tenants will be left at greater risk than their counterparts elsewhere in the UK. Potter said:
"The PRS remains an unregulated industry, and in the event of something going wrong consumers still only have limited options. ARLA has been calling for regulation of the sector for a number of years now, and as more and more people rent, rather than own their home, it is vital that legislation in England is at least in line with its neighbours."
- Monday 03 June 2013