The Association of Residential Lettings Agents says it fears the government needs to do more to prevent the possibility of banned sales agents turning round and setting up lettings operations.
ARLA chief executive David Cox raised the problem in his response to the government’s new consultation on extending access to the Database of Rogue Landlords and Property Agents.
“We’ve long argued for the database to be publicly available, and we’re pleased the government is listening. It’s important that everyone has access to the database, particularly so agencies can vet potential employees, and landlords and tenants can be made aware if they’re using a banned agent” says Cox.
But he continues with this worry: “We do however still believe legislation should be combined with the 1979 Estate Agents Act, as without combining the lists, there is a real danger that a banned sales agent could set up as a letting agent or vice versa which will do little to improve the standards or perception of the industry.”
He says that in the light of last week’s recommendations from the Regulation of Property Agents’ working group, “there needs to be a coordinated approach to regulation and enforcement moving forward.”
He adds: “We also believe that access should be granted to professional bodies, such as ARLA Propertymark, so the industry can work together to eliminate rogue operators once and for all.”
As Letting Agent Today reported yesterday, the government is proposing to introduce a much wider range of offences that could lead to letting agents being included on a ‘rogues database.’
These range from health and safety offences to overcrowding, indiscriminate emailing of customers, misleading advertisements and failing to provide an EPC to a tenant in addition to current issues such as failing to be a member of a mandatory redress scheme or not abiding by fire-related legislation.
“The aim is to provide a more comprehensive range of information to assist existing and prospective tenants in making an informed choice about who to rent from” the government says of its latest consultation.