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Industry reform “toothless” if rogue agents aren’t stopped - warning

There’s a warning this morning that the root-and-branch reform of the agency industry recommended by a government-backed working party will be “toothless” if it isn’t supported by effective resources.

The warning comes from the National Landlords Association’s chief executive Richard Lambert, who was a member of the Regulation of Property Agents’ working group which reported yesterday.

“[A] new regulator will be toothless if the government continues to fail to provide the resources to enforce existing legislation, let alone any new requirements” says Lambert.


“Our research shows that local authorities are currently failing to enforce against rogue letting agents, with more than half not prosecuting a single letting agent in the four-year period from 2014/15 to 2017/18” he adds.

And Lambert concludes: “This report provides a clear and effective structure for the future regulation the property sector and it makes sense to focus on the professional agency sector first. However, the onus is now on the government to implement these proposals, and ensure the regulator is fully functional before rolling it out to cover self-managing private landlords.”

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.”

You can see a fuller summary of its proposals here.

  • Paul Smithson

    Another redress scheme, tenants will be bewildered who to go to, citizens advice, the courts,PRS , the Property Ombudsman ? I recall that the NLA joined forces with the UKLA who used to run out of a bedsit in a terraced house in Colchester and basically another toothless sticker on the door jobs, isn't it time all the regulators get regulated, or the tenants ?

    jeremy clarke

    Regulating tenants, now there's an idea . Has anyone suggested it to that shower in Westminster?

  • James B

    If some local authorities haven’t prosecuted agents why assume there was agents to actually prosecute? Just more general agent bashing without any evidence ..


    You don't really think that, do you?


    You can't seriously think that these local authorities didn't have one, single agent to prosecute??

  • Barry X

    here we go again..... yawn..... just another "scheme" to fleece people trying to make a living one way or another from property.... all that matters for this "initiative" is how much the fees will be and who (which organisation) will profit, and what powers they will have (draconian penalties, and incentives to tenants and prospective tenants to "police" it for free)..... obviously there will be nothing else of any substance and anyone who believes there is any genuine reason or proper rationale for it, or any benefit to anyone other than the authority collecting said fees, is frankly delusional.

    It would make a nice change if they targeted someone else for a change - perhaps themselves for once, although I realise that's inconceivable..... a licencing scheme to "improve the standards" of politicians and civil servants... with a means-tested fee that is only (say) 12% of their estimated grossed-up earnings including "expenses" and they will personally have to pay penalties of, say, £1,500 that will be given to the citizen who reported (shopped) them for investigation to check they'd paid for their "licence", and if they turn out not to have a licence they will also get a mandatory criminal record and go on a "bad politician's register" for life. Hmmm..... yes, I think I'll happily vote for THAT!


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