Letting agents to be regulated to protect tenants and landlords
Letting agents are to be regulated to protect both tenants and landlords against unfair practices.
Housing Minister Mark Prisk has promised legislation that will raise standards across the industry. His proposal will oblige letting and managing agents, and agents involved in leasehold management, to offer tenants and landlords access to an approved redress scheme.
It’s expected that the new regulations will bring letting agents within the scope of the Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Act.
The move has been welcomed by the Property Ombudsman Christopher Hamer as a positive step to raise consumer protection by giving access to an independent disputes resolution mechanism. Mr Hamer said: “I have been pressing for such a change for a number of years and I therefore very much welcome the government's approach to this important element of consumer protection.
“Whilst full regulation is not yet on the agenda, the introduction of compulsory redress brings about a level playing field for the industry and it will mean that a consumer has access to independent dispute resolution regardless of which agent they use.
“I look forward to working with the Minister as the government consults on the introduction of the legislation.”
The proposal was welcomed as a step forward by the Association of Residential Letting Agents. Spokesperson Jane Ingram told the Financial Times: “As many as 40 per cent of letting agents are not members of a redress scheme so if this forces them to get membership then it is good news for the consumer.”
We shall keep clients informed of developments.