Fees ban will cost 4,000 jobs and £200m loss of turnover, ARLA tells government

The Government is being urged to consider the financial burden to letting agents once the fees ban comes in, as it draws up plans to regulate the industry.

ARLA Propertymark says agents are already under “unprecedented pressure”.

It says the ban means the industry is facing the loss of around 4,000 jobs and a reduction in turnover of some £200m.

ARLA makes the point in its response to the Government’s “call for evidence” about the planned regulation of letting agents in England.

The Government wants to see all letting agents regulated and required to have minimum training qualifications.

In principle, ARLA agrees with this. Its response makes clear that it believes a new regulatory approach is needed for letting agents.

It says this should also include sales and block managing agents.

ARLA also argues that the focus should be on protecting consumers through transparency of banned agents, and the publication of disciplinary action taken against them.

ARLA reiterates its call for the list of banned agents – now likely to be implemented next April – to be made publicly available.

At the moment, the blacklist is set to be available only to local and central government but not to the public or to agency businesses looking to hire new staff.

ARLA warns that many letting agents are also sales agents, and that there is a “very real danger that a banned sales agent could set up as a letting agent or vice versa”.

ARLA also argues the case for a single code of practice for everyone working in the industry, and says that letting and managing agents should be qualified to a minimum of Level Three – equivalent to an A Level –  in order to practise.

The Government should align the timetable for the regulation of agents with its other proposals – to ban tenant fees and to introduce mandatory Client Money Protection.

However, the response shows up just how muddled the Government’s call for evidence is, asking questions about two very different sectors – the lettings industry, and leasehold tenure.

The very first question asked by the Government paper goes unanswered by ARLA, because it is about the leasehold sector rather than lettings.

On the subject of training, the ARLA response is vocal. It says that training courses lasting a day or a week are insufficient for letting agents to grasp the industry of the legislative environment.

It criticises the Rent Smart Wales scheme – introducing mandatory licensing and training for all letting agents – as having set “very low” standards, including a one-day training course.

ARLA says that there should be transitory arrangements pre- and post-regulation: agents who achieved a “suitable” qualification three years before qualifications are made mandatory should be classed as meeting the requirements.

Any agents who have achieved their qualifications more than three years beforehand should have to do 20 hours of additional training.

Separately, as ARLA warns about the effects of the fees ban, the petition placed by agent Rob Farrelly calling for a cap rather than a ban had by yesterday evening attracted over 3,100 signatures.

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/206569

 

 

 

 

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9 Comments

  1. Hillofwad71

    The Rent Smart Wales scheme  doesn’t even recognise a RICS qualification as sufficent training. It seems that a day’s course  in a room in a hotel is more important !

     

    You would have thought the RICS would have got themsleves involved here and had some influence

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  2. NewsBoy

    Oh come on ARLA. Give us something we don’t know. It is time to bite the bullet and get on with it. You are sounding more and more like a failed remainer!

    Roll on the new regs and give us all a nice level playing field

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    1. Votta583

      newsboy, how is this a level playing field? You think it’s right that thousands should lose their jobs and service should plummet!?

      bite the bullet? Clearly you aren’t a letting agent because if you were you’d understand the Implication of the ban not just financially but living conditions for tenants and availability of rental properties etc…..

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  3. jackoTLG

    4000 people losing their job……nearly 4000 people have signed petition…. Coincidence? :-I

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  4. fluter

    Only 3100 have signed a petition asking for a fees cap rather than an outright ban. What on earth is wrong with everyone, do you not value your time? I just do not know why an outright ban is better than a sensible fees cap, please can someone explain…….

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  5. KByfield04

    With around 15000 lettings offices employing on average 5 people that’s 75k lettings staff + friends and family support. The lack of signatures suggests that either agents aren’t that fussed about the fee ban or have given up fighting and await the finalised framework & timeline. 2018 is going to be very interesting!

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  6. eyelet41

    Where were you ARLA when the fee ban kicked agents in Scotland right in their back? Loss of income, reduced number of staff, closure of premises……..…it’s definately unfair passing such a big fee to tenants and a very little charge to the landlords. Far too easy way to make money, time to work hard!

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    1. Votta583

      Eyelet41. Where were ARLA? Lobbying the government where do you think they were!? 
      And time to work hard is a bit of a ridiculous statement. Come and and spend a week with me and see how you feel!?

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    2. Scottish_Mist42

       

      The Scottish example was different.  Tenant “premiums” were made unlawful in 1984 (don’t think ARLA were about then?) under Section 82 of the Rent (Scotland) Act 1984. 

       

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