NALS has welcomed proposals announced by Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, signalling the Government’s intention to introduce regulation in to the Private Rented Sector.
Among a raft of measures announced in his speech at the Conservative Party Conference, Mr Javid said the Government would require all letting agents to be registered in order to practise. While specific details have not been disclosed, the measures aim to end the ability of letting agents without qualifications or professional oversight from operating.
NALS and the Fair Fees Forum have long campaigned for regulation of letting agents, that will protect consumers and improve standards in the industry through minimum training requirements and higher industry standards.
Isobel Thomson, NALS CEO said:
“The measures in the Minister’s speech are very welcome news, giving clear confirmation that the Government is adopting a coherent, strategic approach to the Private Rented Sector for the benefit of consumers.
“NALS and the Fair Fees Forum called earlier this year for both the fee ban and introduction of mandatory client money protection to be framed within wider regulation as the only way to ensure that all agents meet the same requirements and consumers are protected.
“Good, professional agents who are already part of existing regulatory organisations such as NALS have nothing to fear from statutory regulation. They should continue to highlight to their tenants and landlords the strict compliance requirements they already satisfy voluntarily. Without regulation, the fee ban would have been unworkable and allowed those agents who continually flout the law to continue to do so.”
Mr Javid also announced new regulation aimed directly at landlords. This would include a mandatory obligation to be part of an ombudsman scheme, either directly or through a letting agent, as well as incentives to encourage landlords to offer tenancies of at least 12 months. The Government will also consult the judiciary on the potential for a new housing court, to streamline the current system of arbitration for landlords and tenants.
“Mr Javid has been clear that the Government wants to see a stable, fair Private Rented Sector for all – tenants, landlords and letting agents. We look forward to seeing more details announced by the Government in the next few months, starting with next month’s Budget.
“NALS has continuously called for greater regulation in the industry and we are delighted that Government has listened. We look forward to engaging with Government to take forward all of the measures they have announced.”