ARLA asks government to reconsider regulation following census data

ARLA asks government to reconsider regulation following census data

15:19 PM, 12th December 2012, About 11 years ago 26

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ARLAThe surge in private rental sector (PRS) tenants reported in the latest census highlights the need for immediate government regulation, according to the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).

Alongside reports of a drop in the number of UK owner-occupiers, to 64%, the number of tenants renting privately has increased from 9% to 15%*. With the private rental sector absorbing much of the move away from home owning, standards are likely to come under increased scrutiny.

Ian Potter, Managing Director, ARLA said, “The census data confirms what our members have already told us, that would-be home owners are increasingly turning to the private rented sector after being priced out of buying their own property.

“As the PRS continues to expand, it is imperative that the government takes decisive action on regulating letting agents. This will help prevent less scrupulous landlords from taking advantage of the unprecedented level of consumer demand. Renting should be a positive experience for both tenant and landlords, and a professional agent will be able to guide them both through the process.

“In the absence of regulation, we would always advise tenants to rent their properties through an ARLA member agent. All ARLA agents must adhere to a strict code of conduct, as well as offering client money protection and redress schemes, which protect you if things go wrong.” 

Mark Alexander, landlord and founder of Property118 said: “I agree that something has to be done to professionalise the sector. A good starting point in my opinion would be to compel the major property portals to enforce full disclosure of all fees charged. I also support  of it becoming mandatory for all agents to hold Client Money Protection insurance before they are allowed to advertise property to let and to make it an offence for all forms of media to accept advertising without proof of Client Money Protection “CMP ” insurance. I firmly believe this would be the only regulation  required as the commercial nature of the insurers providing CMP would effectively regulate the market in terms of pricing for perceived claims risks. For example, an ARLA agent may well pay less than a completely unregulated agent for CMP insurance.”

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18:51 PM, 12th December 2012, About 11 years ago

Not more regulation! The business has suffered enough in recent years with certification, deposit protection needs etc. What is needed is better Landlord Protection for professional "moonlight flitters" and debtors and the criminalising of these clearly fraudulent activities by tenants. We need if anything a National Scheme for government to vet tenants who must prove identity and financial honesty before they can even view a To Let property.

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

19:53 PM, 12th December 2012, About 11 years ago

I agree that none payment of rent or trashing a property should be treated as criminal and not civil offences.

21:37 PM, 12th December 2012, About 11 years ago

A National vetting scheme will NEVER happen.
Where would all the wrongun tenants go that a National vetting scheme identifies?
There would be hundreds of thousands of them and the govt would have to house them, where as no LL would take them on!
It is in govt interest to allow LL to continue to suffer the burdens of wrongun tenant and it will NEVER change.

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

21:43 PM, 12th December 2012, About 11 years ago

If government will not do it then it's up to us - watch this space!

4:38 AM, 13th December 2012, About 11 years ago

Yep I appreciate your efforts and future ones to attempt to assist the LL market in all it's guises.
We LL sure need all the help we can get as nobody else will bother.
You do quite well in that respect as it is; the more you can do the better for us poor old downtrodden LL!!
I tell you that is what it feels like sometimes!

17:12 PM, 13th December 2012, About 11 years ago

Agreed!! too many get away with intentional non-payments and damage etc, landlords left to pick up the pieces almost all the time

12:18 PM, 14th December 2012, About 11 years ago

Why would i as a landlord need to hold client money protection insurance??? The only money i hold that belongs to the tenant is protected by a government scheme already. Any other money given to me by the tenant is the rent - which is mine. So under what circumstances would i need to hold the CMP?

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

12:36 PM, 14th December 2012, About 11 years ago

Fair point, you wouldn't. Bad wording on my part when I said "A good starting point in my opinion would be to compel the major property portals to enforce full disclosure of all fees charged. I also support of it becoming mandatory for all landlords and agents to hold Client Money Protection insurance......" I will change my quote now but in fairness I think it's only right that I should acknowledge my error, otherwise it makes your comment look a bit strange.

Mary Latham

16:12 PM, 15th December 2012, About 11 years ago

I predict that within 2 years Letting Agents will be
regulated. There is no need to increase
the overheads of Letting Agents by forcing them to join an organisation they
should be licensed through a national
licensing scheme at a nominal cost and the conditions of the licence would deal
with all of the issues – not just client money protection which is very
important but not the only issue to be dealt with.

A code of conduct would need to cover

A written contract between the Agent and the
Landlord where there are clear agreements about who does what and how much it
will cost, how the contract can be terminated by each party, when rent will be
passed on, frequency of inspections, deposit protection, deposit disputes,
service of legal notices etc

Limit of spending on urgent repairs/replacements

An obligation to disclose a full fee structure
including fees to both landlord and tenant. Ongoing costs for renewals, termination
of contract, ending of tenancy etc

Full disclosure of commissions gained on all
services ie EPCs, Gas Safety Inspection, Inventories etc

Rules for dealing with documents, ensuring that
the landlord and tenant are given the documents that the law requires

Rules about respecting a tenants right to quiet
enjoyment of the property and giving correct written notice, how keys will be
held, by whom and the procedure for giving them to a third party to carry out
agreed work etc

How to deal with their legal obligation to
disclose the landlords address for service of legal Notices when a tenant makes
a request

What can and cannot be included in the Terms of
a Tenancy Agreement

Documents required to deal with different types
of Tenancies/occupations

There should be a dispute resolution procedure beginning
with an in-house complaints procedure and going on to independent arbitration
which should be paid for by the party that is found at fault.

In my opinion it will not be long before Shelter win and
Letting Agents are no longer allowed to charge tenants for anything other than
deposit and the first months rent. Unlike Scotland we haven’t the legislation
in place in England and Wales but I believe that Government will be forced to
bring in new legislation or tweak existing legislation to make this happen. I
believe that when this happens landlords too will be prevented from charging
fees to tenants.

Many Letting Agents will not survive these changes, because
of the enormous overheads they are carrying, and the good ones who do survive
will need to move off the High Street to reduced their cost or become online
letting agents only. There is no need for Agents who offer a fully managed
service to be on the High Street these days because the footfall aspect of
their business reduces constantly and they can still do a good job without a “fancy”
office but they will need to improve their customer service and invest in staff
who are strong on dealing with maintenance issues and ongoing tenancy problems.

2013 is going to be a very interesting year for the PRS and
this time next year we will be looking at a very different landscape. In my
humble opinion of course!

Follow me on Twitter@landlordtweets

21:53 PM, 15th December 2012, About 11 years ago

Your humble opinion will I believe turn out to be correct and your other things about LA will also come to pass.

LA for too long have been ripping LL and tenants off alike for a very poor service.

The majority of LL can perfectly well manage things themselves.
High St LA will be going the way of IFA's, disappearing!!
Their charging structures will not work.
The internet has been a great leveller and I believe online LA who have a presence throughout the country will occur.
You will have these people working from home as self-employed by the on-line LA to get national coverage, but without all the high st expense.
If I was a LL of a high st LA or estate agent, I would be worried.
LL who self manage don't incur any real cost for their business.
Everything is FREE of the net.
Yes ok you have to do some admin and have printer ink and paper
The check in and out day is the only thing that will cost the LL; his time.
No LL needs to keep renewing AST's; they will just proceed onto SPT's.
Doing things yourself as a LL is massively cheaper than using a normal LA.
They have basically priced themselves out of a job, more fool them.
It would be great to see the likes of the big F------ with egg all over their face finally punished, where it hurts for all their greed, in the bank balance!!

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