Safeagent manifesto calls for streamlining not scrapping of licensingMake Text Bigger
Safeagent, a not for profit accreditation scheme for lettings and management agents, has released it’s own manifesto of policies for political parties to consider promising the Private Rental Sector going into the December general election. Click here to download the full document.
Isobel Thomson, safeagent CEO, said: “With 20% of all households now living in the Private Rented Sector, the importance of this sector cannot be underestimated. We want to see standards raised across the board, professionalising the sector through minimum qualifications for agents, and supporting the good landlords to provide much needed homes.
“If we want to ensure a safer, fairer PRS for all, the new Government must make regulation and properly funded enforcement a priority to root out the small number of rogue landlords and agents.”
The Safeagent policy towards council licensing recommends reforming:
Not all Local Authority licensing schemes are operating effectively in the interests of tenants, good landlords and reputable agents. For example, new research* has found that in the capital, non-compliance with licensing schemes is rife, potentially putting consumers at risk. Licence applications have been submitted for only 25% of the 138,500 private rented properties that require licensing under mandatory or additional Houses in Multiple Occupation licensing schemes. This is a non-compliance rate of 75%.
However, the picture for selective licensing is markedly different. These schemes extend licensing to all private rented properties within a clearly defined geographical area. They are more focused and, in London, licence applications have been submitted for 85% of the 173,000 private rented properties that require them.
Rather than scrapping licensing altogether, safeagent believes government should promote a simple, streamlined licensing process which would be more cost effective for the public purse, easier for councils to enforce and clearer for landlords and agents to understand. Rather than drowning the Private Rented Sector in paperwork, licensing should be targeted at specific problem neighbourhoods and substandard properties, as well as at rogue landlords and agents.
Other Policies include:
- Increased funding for Local Authority enforcement
- Incentivising the use of 205,000 empty homes in England
- Re-aligning Local Housing Allowance with the lower end of market rents to assist benefits tenants in the PRS
- Safeagent supports statutory regulation of lettings and management agents
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