EYE NEWSFLASH: Government launches ‘call for evidence’ into letting agents’ market

People could be over-paying for agents’ services by up to £1.4bn.

The accusation is in a new paper, a call for evidence into the letting and managing agency market that has been issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Launched today, it will run for six weeks until November 29 and is titled “Protecting consumers in the letting and managing agent market”.

It covers only England, because of devolved housing powers in the rest of the UK.

Focusing on the growing numbers of people who rent their homes or own leasehold properties, the paper says that this has “fuelled the growth of a multi-billion pound property agent market”, estimated to be worth £2.5bn to £3.5bn a year.

The paper goes on to say that “in return for these significant sums, agents play an important role” in ensuring that “residents are safe and secure in their homes”.

However, it claims, “a lack of transparency can allow unfair fees and costs to go unnoticed”.

The paper – which appears confusing in sections where it seems to jump from the private rented sector into leaseholds – says there is “overwhelming evidence” that consumers could be over-paying for management services, and that where property agents under-manage, tenants suffer due to poor quality repairs and services.

The paper also says that a lack of minimum standards has allowed unscrupulous agents to enter the market, with anyone able to become a property agent, regardless of background, skills and experience.

The paper reinforces the Government’s existing commitment to regulate letting agents, but also discusses regulation of property managers in the leasehold sector.

It seeks views on minimum entry requirements, and the standards that leasehold managing agents should follow.

It also expands on the proposed regulation of letting agents, as well as that of block managers.

It says that all letting and managing agents could be required to join a relevant professional body approved by the Government; these bodies could in turn by supervised by an umbrella regulatory body.

Alternatively, a new Government approved regulatory body could be established to which all letting and managing agents would have to belong. Membership of a professional body would be optional.

The paper also suggests that regulators would act as “consumer champions”, and play a role in supporting people to switch agents.

The paper is at www.gov.uk/dclg

The survey can be answered online at: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/property_agents

 

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8 Comments

  1. seenitall

    I thought it was already mandatory that letting agents must belong to a redress body?

     

    We belong to

    TPO (lettings)

    NARLS

    Safe Agent

    Client money protection   (have)

    TDS – deposit protection

     

    so the govt want another regulatory body?

    WTF is going on?     so a tenant fee ban is coming in, what next a cap or limit on charging landlords? Consumer Champion ! – more expence and another quango.

    How about a “lets fek up agents champion” ? get the agents to pay for it. – Ahhh wait we have that already – the govt.

    Min entry requirement for agents! – Is there a min entry requirement for MP’s?

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  2. BrandNew

    I agree. Our list seems endless.

    RICS

    ARLA

    RLA

    SafeAgent

    TPO for Lettings, Sales and Block Management

    Money Laundering Registration

    Data Protection Registration

    CPM through RICS

    Regulated for Insurance under RICS

    How much more regulation do we need….?

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    1. seenitall

      I forgot the Data controller registration and Money Laundering registration – thanks for reminding !

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      1. BrandNew

        Wouldn’t worry

        I also forgot the TDS and Damage Deposit regulation.

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        1. g4lvo17

          also add to the list the checking of right to reside

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  3. J1

    A government on a mission to break an industry.

    It is a shame that we are no longer a profession – this might not be happening.

     

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  4. GPL

    Duly noted however…

    Dear Government,

    Are we any further forward with Brexit negotiations or do we still have to endure the endless game of “Dodgems” with ministers crashing awkwardly into each other over differing views/strategy and Europe standing back watching a farcical “Punch & Judy” Show?

    By all means govern at home but GET ON with sorting the biggest problem of all …before the UK gets flushed down the pan!

     

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  5. JWVW

    More appalling interference from a Government who promised less red tape. They really are beginning to look hopeless – just in to for themselves.

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