Propertymarks calls for agent regulation as part of Renters’ Reform Bill

Timothy Douglas

Propertymark has once again called on thew government to press ahead with the regulation of lettings agents.

As the Renters Reform Bill makes its way through the House of Lords, the trade body has advised peers not to miss this opportunity to legislate for the regulation and qualification of property agents.

The industry body also warned against discouraging investment in the private rented sector and to provide more certainty for landlords due to the proposed removal of fixed term tenancies.

The Renters’ Reform Bill had its Second Reading in the House of Lords on Wednesday, and it has now passed to Committee Stage.

The debate was led by Baroness Swinburne, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities).

Baroness Taylor of Stevenage (Labour) welcomed changes to possession grounds, the appointment of an Ombudsman, the implementation of pet friendly provisions, and the introduction of a property portal. However, she said the Bill has been watered down regarding the abolition of Section 21 no fault evictions.

Baroness Pinnock (Liberal Democrat) supported the Bill and called it ‘long overdue’, but she called for more social houses to be built to take the pressure off the private rental sector, and reiterated Labour’s call to abolish Section 21 no fault evictions.

Lord Best (Crossbench) expressed his concerns over ‘arbitrary’ evictions through ‘no fault of their own’.

The main aims of the legislation, should it become law, are to encourage open-ended tenancies, change the possession process and eventually end Section 21 evictions. It also aims to enhance standards for private rented properties and those who own and manage them.

Propertymark has recommended that fixed term tenancies should remain for those who find them advantageous, especially in the case of student tenancies.

The professional body added that it must be compulsory for there to be written tenancies that consist of an inventory in England. Alongside ensuring fairer deposit deductions, this will enable properties to be protected.

Letting agents should also be appropriately qualified and regulated and stick to completing mandatory continuing professional development within their job, streamlining the private rental sector with the social rented sector that already has compulsory qualifications.

There must also be a review of property taxes on investment in the private rented sector so that landlords can offset mortgage costs against tax liabilities, which has caused rents to surge, and landlords must have the freedom to break even with increasing costs.

Furthermore, Propertymark’s individual research discovered that 88 per cent of letting agents do not agree that the courts would be able to handle the end of Section 21 evictions; 80% believe the end of fixed term tenancies will impact tenants badly; 64% of letting agents think local authorities would not have sufficient resources to enact the new legislation properly, and only 54% of agents agree that the proposed private rented sector database will improve standards.

In addition, 72% of landlords are anxious about the end of Section 21, 69% of landlords are concerned about the end of fixed term tenancies, and 62% of landlords are worried about rent review clauses being removed.

Timothy Douglas, head of policy and campaigns at Propertymark, said: “The legislation, once passed, will undoubtedly initiate the biggest change to the private rented sector since the 1980s.

“Most agents and their landlords have been reassured by the UK Government’s commitment to court reform and that there will be an effective way to recover possession of their property when things go wrong.”

He added: “However, with the removal of fixed term tenancies still a concern and open-ended tenancies reducing the certainty for agents and landlords the big question is how do we encourage landlords to stay in the Private Rented Sector?

“Furthermore, tenants need qualified and licensed housing providers to level the playing field and legislators must not miss this opportunity to regulate property agents and bring in additional protection for both landlords and tenants.”

 

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7 Comments

  1. Robert_May

    It really beggars belief that our law makers have not yet grasped that moving out when a tenant agreed to move out IS NOT an eviction.
    Leave assured shorthold tenancy alone and find a way of making assured tenancies attractive for those prepared to provide homes to people who need or want them.
    Look at why landlords and agents don’t favour long , secure tenancies and build a contractual framework that makes it clear to the public and the lawmakers that there are short tenancy agreements designed for temporary accommodation and longer term agreements for those who want and need secure, stable long term accommodation

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  2. JamesB

    Propertymark shafting their own paying members for their own profit gain

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    1. AcornsRNuts

      Empire building.

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  3. jeremy1960

    Oh dear, are the Property Mark management sweating? All those plans to take more money from members to sell them qualifications and line their own pockets seems to be going wrong!

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    1. AcornsRNuts

      Timmy Douglas making another bid to be the ones in charge of regulating agents. If Propertymark were that good, agents would surely be clamouring to join, no?

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      1. Hit Man

        That’s the issue: they want to elevate their own importance and position themselves so that agents are forced to use them. I can’t understand why current agents stay with them, as it seems they’re pursuing a different direction and neglecting their paying members.

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  4. Hit Man

    PropertyMark is once again ignoring its paying members, betraying Agents! If it’s not Rightmove dictating, it’s PropertyMark. Agents should consider leaving before it becomes another burden to support.

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