New regulatory body will oversee both letting and sales agents

A new regulatory body has been set up ahead of the tenant fees ban on June 1.

Called the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team, it will combine existing control over sales agents, but have an added remit in overseeing lettings firms’ compliance with the fees ban.

The new body will regulate estate agents throughout the UK, but letting agents only in England and apparently only where they charge illegal fees.

Its powers include overseeing compliance among both sales and letting agents, and overseeing redress schemes – for example the Property Ombudsman scheme.

Powys County Council will continue to be the lead enforcement authority for the purposes of the Estate Agents Act 1979.

Powys has run, on a shoestring, the awkwardly named NTSEAT – the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team – since the former Office of Fair Trading regulator vanished.

However NTSEAT has not had lettings activity under its control, since letting agents do not fall under the remit of the Estate Agents Act.

Alongside Powys is now Bristol City Council, announced as the new national lead enforcement authority for the Tenant Fees Act 2019.

Bristol Trading Standards will be responsible for nationally enforcing the tenant fees ban that comes into play in England on June 1.

The new NTSELAT body – we’re guessing whether the even more awkward acronym will actually be used – says it may investigate cases where a local authority is unable to do so.

NTSEAT head James Munro will expand his role to head up the new body.

He said: “Bringing the two functions – lead enforcement authority for estate agency work and lead enforcement authority for lettings agency work – under one team will mean there is a single point of contact for enforcement work in this area.

“This single team approach will help us uphold consumers’ rights and enforce the law.”

Housing minister Heather Wheeler MP said: “We are determined to make the private rented sector a fairer, more accessible market that works for all and I am delighted that local authorities will now be able to access the best advice and information from this new team.

“There is no place for unfair fees – now, with this new enforcement authority, we will be able to stamp them out.”

David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark, said: “We welcome today’s announcement of the lead enforcement authority, and hope this is a major step forward in improving enforcement in the private rented sector.

“At the moment, there is a severe lack of prosecution in the industry, allowing rogue agents to operate and thrive.

“We look forward to building a constructive working relationship with the lead enforcement authority to eliminate these agents from the sector once and for all.”

https://www.bristol.gov.uk/web/ntselat/about-us

x

Email the story to a friend

14 Comments

  1. Will2

    So Heather Wheeler clearly accepts the lack of prosecution of criminal landlords whilst her department continue to landlord bash all the good landlords and agents. All political spin.

    Report
  2. Property Poke In The Eye

    I have heard rumours that some agents will carry on taking tenant fees as cash only (reverse hand donation style/off books).  Not sure how that will work in practice for these rogue agents.

    Report
    1. rsvstu97

      Yeah right.

      Report
  3. ArthurHouse02

    This wont work at all, they wont have enough man power and more importantly wont have enough understanding on how our industry works.

    Constantly agents are reported for breaking the law, and no action is ever taken because they just arent interested. This body (in my opinion) will be solely there to make sure agents are paying their respective fees to the ombudsman etc but when complaints come in they will do sweet fa.

    Report
    1. Mark Walker 2

      Wait until they see the price tag of a train ticket from Bristol to Lancaster.  Then they’ll never be visiting to inspect up here.

      Report
  4. Ed Mead

    Nowhere do they tell us how many will be on the team – could Ros or someone ask them. Unless properly resourced this is a waste of time?

    Report
  5. DASH94

    Soon there’ll be more people employed to regulate the industry than actually working it it!

    Report
  6. Woodentop

    Not the resources, it will be a pen pushing chasing after the fact team just like NTSEAT. That isn’t a deterrent to rogues who operate until they are caught. The next step will be a “registration fee” to NTSELAT” (got to love that name)?

    Report
  7. natural_selection

    A word of caution, I don’t see them needing a big team. Shelter and GR will be more than happy to act as their footmen on the ground, possibly assisting with any paperwork involved in a claim, similar to the PPI companies. This will streamline the processing of any action for NTSELAT.

    Thoughts?

    Report
    1. LeeHardy45

      With the ability to claim PPI coming to an end in (I think) August there are soon to be a large amount of people sat in call centres with very little to do.

      With both this and the recent HOMES (fitness for human habitation) Act it isn’t going to be too hard for them to pivot to chasing these claims instead.

      So we can all expect a bunch of patronising cold calls asking about the condition of our properties and how much we paid to secure them.

      That is how this is going to be policed.

      Report
  8. Jason Coombes

    NTSEAT have proven to hugely ineffective in an industry sector where there is one major law (EA1979) which is broken on a daily basis by crappy, cowboy agents, however, to be fair to the new body, NTSELAT?? the government have made it very easy to prosecute all those that work in the lettings industry, as well as private landlords, by introducing 145 Laws and 400 regulations for the prosecution industry to choose from. Happy days…

    Report
  9. Jacqui@callaways.co.uk

    So as normal “The System” has no idea what so ever of the Private rental market and because they do not look after their own social housing – do all the checks and maintenance etc they come after the private sector. I understand that rouge Landlords need to be put in their place however Social housing and Housing Trusts need to be sorted out first – get your own house in order Heather Wheeler then think about us in the private rented sector.

    Report
  10. IWONDER36

    Word to the unwise…….Rogue landlords are generally not on the radar!

    They are not registered as such, they do not use agents, they do not follow rules, they do not declare their income, nor have gas safety checks or E.P.C’s.

    What they do do, is rent out rooms above shops, or sh*thole HMO’s to vulnerable people for cash, which they then send out of the country to be cleaned and returned thus making them wealthy in a very short space of time.

    Unlike the tax paying, hardworking, entrepreneurial landlords that are with good agents to ensure that they are completely compliant, even  though it can eat into their profits.

    Stop blaming the wrong people and police the people you’re afraid to police because of political correctness!

    Report
  11. GPL

     

    Ted Hastings commented….

    ” To the letter of the Law …..To the L E T T E R of the L A W “

    Meanwhile, at Government HQ…. an Answer Machine Message responds

    ” You’re through to Your Government, despite the Brexit Mess ……we’re on holiday just now. The country is in a crisis, on the edge of the abyss with the   Brexit Nuclear Clock ticking down. Our fast action response to our country’s call for action? …..was to go on holiday.

    If you require assistance, please email our Country in Crisis team at – Zzzzzzzzz.org    Thank You for calling Your Government – We really care ….just not right now “

     

     

     

    Report
X

You must be logged in to report this comment!

Leave a reply

Thank you for signing up to our newsletter, we have sent you an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Additionally if you would like to create a free EYE account which allows you to comment on news stories and manage your email subscriptions please enter a password below.