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Trade body wants much stricter regulation on letting agents

The Chartered Institute of Housing wants the government to introduce a raft of new measures including significantly greater regulation of letting agents.

The CIH has voiced its broad support for many of the recent measures outlined in the government White Paper which, in the eyes of some in the private rental sector, have imposed already-challenging requirements on lettings agents, landlords and investors.

Now, in its submission to the Treasury ahead of next month’s Budget, the CIH wants the development of a single, easily-understood set of minimum standards covering both property conditions and property management in the rental sector.

It also calls for the increased funding of councils to ensure they can proactively enforce existing and future standards imposed on the private rental sector - this is especially important given recent landlord requirements such as licensing schemes, says the CIH.

However, the institute reserves its most significant request for letting agents - it wants the government to introduce far more significant regulation.

It says in its submission to Chancellor Phillip Hammond that a 2010 survey by the Department of Communities and Local Government showed that 79 per cent of landlords received less than a quarter of their income from rent - evidence, the trade body says, that being a landlord “is a side-line activity for most.”

Therefore, it says, greater reliance is put on letting agents. However, without specifying the precise problems it hints at, the CIH’s submission goes on to say: “There is widespread agreement, including among organisations representing agents themselves, that regulation is needed to stamp out poor and exploitative practices. This could most easily by implemented by extending the arrangements already in place to regulate estate agents, to the lettings industry.”

  • Simon shinerock

    Nonsense, how can we go on and on about the need to cut down on red tape and continue to add more and more regulations The regulations we have are fine, they just need enforcing, let's stop looking at the theory and start focusing on the practise.

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    Totally agree Simon....

    Additionally, more regulation and more red tape with the threat of a third of our income being removed with the proposed introduction on the Banning of tenants fees - how do they propose that this is a financially viable industry. Is it preferred that letting agents fold and landlords rent privately to tenants in a completely unregulated market??

    Leigh

  • Mark Wilson

    To quote CIH, being a landlord “is a side-line activity for most.” This is why 'buy to let' is not a business. But, more importantly, more regulation is the last thing this industry needs, and those promoting that it does are disengaged with the reality of running a business. The industry has become so complex that compliance is no longer possible. Instead its about managed risk. We do not need more regulation.

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    Nobody seems to have mentioned the HMRC requirement for all landlords earning over £10k per year must submit quarterly returns to them from next April. This is more legislation and more work for landlords and agents and ultimately accountants all of which hit the profit margin in one way or another

  • Kristjan Byfield

    The government have made it clear time and time again that they wont fully regulate our sector. Over 145 pices of legislation create a very professional marketplace if everything is enforced. Self regulation is the best way forward to stamp out the charlatans and jokers.

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