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The National Landlords Association (NLA) has welcomed the report by the Regulation of Property Agents Working Group.
The report, released today, makes recommendations to the Government on the practical implementation of formal independent regulation of property agents, with the view to improving consumers’ experiences. The report covers letting, managing and sales agents, along with residential property auctioneers, rent-to-rent providers, property guardian providers, international property agents and online-only agents.
The NLA supports the introduction of a single independent regulator to oversee a new regulatory regime for property agents, and for those regulated to be licensed to operate. There are provisions in the report that suggest that, once properly established and functioning, the regulator’s scope should be extended to cover self-managing private landlords, and possibly tenancy deposit and client money schemes in the future.
Richard Lambert, CEO of the NLA and member of the Working Group, says:
“Landlords are as much consumers of property agents’ services as tenants, so we’re pleased to have represented their views in the Working Group, and to have made an effective contribution to this report, which represents a broad consensus across all parties involved in the sector.
“We hope that the proposals outlined in the report will drive forward the professionalisation of the private rented sector, making it a better place for those who live and work in it. We were particularly pleased that the report went beyond simply looking at activities and placed a new emphasis on the importance of ethics and behaviour.
“But the new regulator will be toothless if the Government continues to fail to provide the resources to enforce existing legislation, let alone any new requirements. Our research shows that local authorities are currently failing to enforce against rogue letting agents, with more than half not prosecuting a single letting agent in the four-year period from 2014/15 to 2017/18.
“This report provides a clear and effective structure for the future regulation the property sector and it makes sense to focus on the professional agency sector first. However, the onus is now on the Government to implement these proposals, and ensure the regulator is fully functional before rolling it out to cover self-managing private landlords.”
The full report is available here.
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