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Under the skin of the letting market

Here we share news and views on both the local letting market in & around Oxfordshire and all planned and recent legislation.

Letting agent legislation: only 590 MPs left to convince…

A familiar message emanating from FK Towers is the need to grab the industry and shake it violently so that all the unethical practitioners and landlords are put in bright sunlight.

The industry is defined thus:

  1. The barriers to entry too low
  2. The sums of money relating to deposits and rent are high
  3. No qualifications are needed

Think about your life and finances: it is rare that a human can handle large amounts of someone else’s money without any legal knowledge or qualifications.  

We’ll stop before we get too worked up…..

However a recent Early Day Motion from Westminster shows that at least 60 MPs have the right idea. This excerpt comes from an ARLA update (ARLA is the letting trade body):

“MPs have demonstrated their concern at the lack of regulation for the lettings market in Parliament.

More than 60 MPs have now signed an Early Day Motion (EDM) which highlights their concern at the Government’s decision to abandon the plans for a national register for landlords and further regulation of the private rented sector (PRS).

The EDM outlines the role that the PRS plays in supporting the UK housing market but that rogue landlords and lettings agents pose a threat to consumers.

The Property Ombudsman has already noted that the number of complaints against such landlords and lettings agents has risen.

By signing the EDM, the MPs support a call to create a national register of landlords and further regulation of landlords and letting agents.

Ian Potter, Operations Manager of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), said: “ARLA has long campaigned for the introduction of compulsory regulation of lettings agents, along the same lines as our own member-led licensing scheme launched last year. Currently, any person or organisation can become a letting agent.Now, an Early Day Motion is a start, as are 60 MPs, but we need this interest to progress. Hopefully those with Grant Shapps’ ear can be persuasive.

“The Housing Minister Grant Shapps MP has pledged to work with ARLA to develop an industry-led solution to remove unprofessional letting agents from the market. We also welcome the Government’s support for ARLA’s licensing scheme, but we will continue to press the Government to recognise the importance of government regulation for the PRS.

“We greatly appreciate the support that the MPs have offered with this EDM. Until the current status quo is changed via national regulation, unprofessional, unqualified and unethical operators will continue to prey at the expense of the general public.”

We have to be positive and hope that the EDM is a start of something new and interesting, and that those who have Grant Shapps’ ear can be persuasive on this matter.