15:19 PM, 12th December 2012, About 10 years ago 26
The 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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