Government must act now end the confusion and uncertainty in the private rented sector and ensure it functions properly for all, says the National Approved Letting Scheme.
As the Budget approaches, and industry continues to wait for the Government’s consultation on fees, NALS is asking Government to look again at key areas for the sector:
NALS’ view is that where a service is provided to the tenant it should be paid for by the tenant, not the landlord. NALS believes the fee ban will lead to a number of inevitable consequences for the consumer, including:
- Reduction in service to tenants
- As costs increase, a move to more landlords self-managing, leading to a lowering of standards and no access to redress for tenants
- Driving fees underground – the rogue agents who have caused the ban will continue to charge as they will no longer be required to display fees and it will be more difficult for enforcement agencies to identify them
- Negative effect on small letting agency firms, leading to closures and redundancies
NALS created the Fair Fees Forum as a way for industry to speak directly to Government on the issue of fees and the Forum has worked collaboratively to inform Government thinking ahead of the ban. Along with a number of members of the Forum, NALS wants a Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) review into fees in the lettings market, its overall regulatory framework, and how it should best operate to ensure a fair, safe experience for tenants.
A PRS for all
We must have a PRS which functions for all, not just those who can afford it. Build to Rent will positively contribute to the problem of supply and quality in the future but right now, Government must recognise it is not the only solution for the sector. The role of private landlords is, and will remain hugely important in providing housing for all.
Regulation of all lettings and management agents
NALS and its professional agent firms have long called for regulation of all agents operating in the sector. Only by driving out rogues and criminals will consumers be able to have confidence and security when they rent or let a home.
Increased funding for enforcement
Government must provide more money to Local Authorities to effectively police the sector; specifically to Trading Standards who are at the front line of enforcement. Increased legislation is meaningless if there are not sufficient means to check it is operating correctly.
Mandatory Client Money Protection
Baroness Hayter’s review into this issue has now concluded and it is time for the Minister to announce what he is intending to do on this important protection for consumers.
Isobel Thomson, Chief Executive of NALS said: “Simply, we want to make the private rented sector a better, fairer place for all. While the recent Government focus on the PRS and its importance is welcome, there has been no real action. We believe there are some immediate key areas, which must be addressed if we are truly to help improve the sector. Industry is waiting, its time for Government to act now.”
For media enquiries, please contact:
NALS: Ellie Irwin firstname.lastname@example.org 07833 683281