The new government must prioritise the implementation of proposals to ensure letting agents and others in the industry are appropriately qualified.
That’s the view of the chief executive of the Association of Residential Lettings Agents, David Cox.
He says: “Now that the election has brought some political stability, tenants will likely be looking for properties again and the new government must recognise the importance of making the market attractive for both tenants and landlords.
“They must be very careful about reforming Section 21 which could cause supply to plummet; and if it is to be abolished, Section 8 must be reformed first and a new specialist Housing tribunal created. Without this, supply will almost certainly fall which will have the consequential effect of raising rents.
“Further, the government should seek to reassure tenants by implementing the recommendations set out by the Regulation of Property Agents working group; something we have long called for.
“These are substantial changes, but it’s important that the government ensures everyone in the industry is qualified and adheres to a strict code of practice.”
The Regulation of Property Agents working party recommends:
- a new independent regulator to lead a new public body to oversee a new regulatory regime for property agents;
- the new regulatory regime will be binding on companies, and certain individuals, that act as intermediaries to property transactions;
- those who are regulated will have to be licensed by the new regulator;
- the regulator will also be responsible for an overarching statutory code of practice, with different parts binding on agents depending on their area of work;
- a new ‘modular’ approach to qualifications, required for individuals within regulated companies “allowing agents to become proficient in those aspects of property agent work as suits the needs of their role and career, subject to minimum requirements”; and
- the new regulator is central to “a system of enforcement and redress which takes on, at their discretion, the support of national and local trading standards, of redress schemes, and of professional bodies.”