PropTech company PayProp says the government’s outline proposal for greater regulation of the private rental sector should be treated as good news for agents.
The lettings industry supplier says the move towards increasing regulation of the private rented sector shows just how integral a part of the wider UK housing market this tenure has become.
Last week the government announced that it is considering whether to introduce a regulatory body to handle leasehold and private rented management, as well as letting agents. A six week ‘call for evidence’ is underway to gauge the views of the industry, consumer groups and the wider public.
At a speech to the Conservative conference earlier this month, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid also called for additional regulation for all letting agents, referencing the fact that currently anyone can start operating as a letting agent without “qualifications or professional oversight”. There was also the pledge that landlords would have to become members of official redress schemes.
"While we eagerly await the details of all these proposals, it has to be said at this stage that they represent a positive step forward for the industry. There have been campaigns for the regulation of the industry for a long time now and this month it’s become clear that the issue is high on the government’s agenda” explains Neil Cobbold, chief operating officer of PayProp UK.
"Requiring all landlords to be members of a redress scheme will ensure that 100 per cent of tenants have access to a fair and impartial complaints procedure. Meanwhile, there’s clearly an appetite to extend minimum tenancies and with more people now renting privately for longer, we can understand the government's thinking behind this proposal," says Cobbold.
He believes this all represents positive news for letting agents, despite some sections of the industry being fearful the measures could add red tape and costs.
"Minimum standards for letting agents will mean a better level of service across the board as well as an improved public perception of the industry," explains Cobbold.
"Increased professionalisation of the sector is a must and will help to improve transparency and stamp out the minority of rogue landlords and agents still operating."
Cobbold adds that as the private rental sector continues to grow in size, the government's awareness of its importance will prove to be crucial.
"The fact that politicians continue to monitor the growth and expanding influence of this tenure type is positive and necessary as home ownership levels in this country continue to decrease," he concludes.