The chief executive of Leaders letting and estate agency is demanding that the new Conservative government brings in the formal regulation of letting agency.
“More people and families than ever before now use the private rental sector and the services of letting agents. Yet the vast majority are unaware that letting agents are not regulated by the government and that anyone can set up a letting agency, with no experience, knowledge of lettings law or client money protection in place” says Paul Weller.
“Letting agents can hold hundreds of thousands of pounds in rent which they are supposed to protect. But without regulation, there is no way to enforce this and there have been countless cases of letting firms losing their clients’ money, using it for their own ends, or completely disappearing with it, leaving landlords and tenants badly out of pocket” he continues.
Weller says too many people have suffered at the hands of rogue agents, as well as incompetent and unscrupulous agents who fail to provide a decent standard of service.
“This needs to be tackled urgently,” Weller argues, “and the only way to do so is to make it mandatory for agents to abide by an agreed code of conduct, be professionally qualified with a sound knowledge of the laws governing lettings and to have client money protection and professional indemnity insurance in place.”
Weller says the Tories have put forward what he calls “promising” housing policies including the Help To Buy ISA and a pledge to build 200,000 new homes. But ther is more the government can do, he says.
“There is now a golden opportunity to make a positive difference to those renting and letting. Proper regulation is essential to stop rogue agents taking advantage of the thriving rental market. Good agents have been crying out for this for years and, as the numbers of those renting and letting continues to rise, the need for it grows ever stronger.”