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Graham Awards


Letting agents must be regulated now insists the Nationwide

A new report from the Nationwide and campaigning charity Shelter puts letting agents in the dock over the standards in the private rental sector.

The report makes a number of key demands including:

The regulation of all letting agents: “All letting agents need to adhere to a code of practice. Additionally, all letting agents must be sufficiently qualified and licensed. These measures would vastly improve standards within the sector and should be a key priority for the government.”


The introduction of a regulatory body covering the private rented sector. “This body should oversee the national landlord register, rogue landlord database and the regulation of letting agents. It should also provide another avenue for redress for renters.”

The abolition of what it calls ‘no-fault’ evictions. “Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 must be abolished, and Section 8 amended, so that landlords must prove they have a legitimate reason for evicting tenants. The government has promised to abolish Section 21 evictions. Its abolition must be a legislative priority. Security of tenure underpins all reform and regulation in the sector, and only once tenants have security will they be able to enforce their rights.”

A national landlord and housing management register. “All landlords and housing management agents must register themselves, the properties they manage, details of the letting agents they work with and the rents they charge to a national register. Landlords and housing management agents must also evidence that the homes they manage meet essential safety requirements. This register would operate alongside the rogue landlord database and could also facilitate a new lifetime deposit scheme. A register would be a foundation for developing greater accountability in the sector and so must be a legislative priority for the government.”

The abolition of Right To Rent: “This policy has been shown to lead to discrimination on the grounds of race and nationality. Nobody should face discrimination in their search for a new home. Government must urgently abolish this policy which represents a substantial barrier to the ability to access private rented housing for migrants, people perceived to be migrants and British people of colour without passports.”

Far more enforcement: The report wants councils funded to hire “sufficient Environmental Health Practitioners, Tenancy Relation Officers and any housing staff they need to address poor housing standards and practice.”

A joint statement from Shelter chief executive Polly Neate and Nationwide chief executive Joe Garner says: “Many private renters are still faced with poor quality housing, poor landlord, housing management agent and letting agent practice and discrimination. Renters also face an underlying lack of security and power.

“Over the last 15 months, we’ve conducted extensive research. We have interviewed a broad range of stakeholders including private renters, users of Shelter’s helplines, local authority officials, Shelter’s legal advisers and case workers, representatives from sector organisations and landlords. 

“They told us about the many issues private renters face from poor housing standards and bad practice to discrimination and a lack of power.

“Shelter and Nationwide have used the findings of this research to develop a shared long-term vision for an improved private rented sector.”

The report is bound to be controversial for agents and landlords already under pressure through recent regulation, legislation and the Coronavirus crisis. 

You can read the full report here.

  • Mark Wilson

    I am totally confused, the middle class buy to let speculation boom came to be on the back of the fact that landlord's could gain vacant possession. That was the lending miracle of the AST. Why would a lender want to remove the driving force that protects his security. Lenders will be financing Generation Rent next.

    If you didn't think this was a doomed sector, what will make you change your mind?

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    Any landlord or agent with funds in Nationwide should withdraw them immediately to avoid being the turkey that voted for Christmas.

  • Angus Shield

    Am I missing something; a large lender wishes to plough through GDPR with a public database and give up the mechanism for repossession of their investment?

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    Why would they come out with this when Tmw which is nationwide owned is probably the biggest btl lender.

    I had the last few cases being declined from too strict survey/underwriting so maybe appetite to lend in this market has suddenly vanished as definitely changed in their attitude to lend in recent months and not COVID led decisions as other lenders have not gone same route as these

  • Lisa Williamson

    Is it any coincidence that landlords are listed last as the stakeholders they’ve interviewed?! I’d be interested to know what percentage of landlords were interviewed compared to tenants and other tenant invested stakeholders.
    I agree with Mark, AST’s provided the vehicle for BTL and if S21’s are abolished we’ll be back to Rent Act type tenancies and a mass retreat of private landlords at a time when we have an escalating housing crisis.......total madness!

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    • 06 November 2020 09:02 AM

    Nationwide are idiots.
    Their support for the bonkers Shelter ideas will lead to their emasculation as a viable BS.

    What they are supporting is nothing short of the ultimate eradication of the PRS.
    Shelter are going to cause mass tenant homelessness as LL sell up or reduce stock levels.
    They will do this in combination with deleveraging thereby spiking the bonkers Govt S24 tax policy which aims to force LL out of business.

    Perversely what these proposals will do is force LL into more financially resilient business models.
    Good for LL but very very bad for tenants.

    50% of private tenants numbering about 2 million tenants rely on leveraged LL to house them.
    If LL reduce their stock to unencumbered properties thst would result in far fewer available rental properties which tenants need LL to retain for them.

    For at least the next 10 years yield will be king there being little property CG.

    Resilient yield will improve if LL deleverage.
    For LL ensuring this is a matter of personal survival.
    If this means making many tenants homeless then so be it.
    Shelter and Nationwide are being extremely naive.

    They don't seem to appreciate that a LL register will reveal millions of fraudulent tenancies.

    That is why I actually support a LL register as I know fraudulent LL will be found out causing millions of homeless tenants.

    I want those fraudulent LL put out of business so that I and other good LL have many more tenants clamouring for our scarce properties.
    A effective register would achieve this for me.

  • Roger  Mellie

    Nationwide went woke last year, selling agendas not just mortgages.

  • jeremy clarke

    Nationwide just joined my list of companies along with B & Q as companies to avoid because of their blind support for the lefties at shelter!

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    To be fair, this report acknowledges the work being done by RoPA. But jumping into bed with the cretinous Shelter lot does not do Nationwide any favours.

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    Okay, not to throw the baby out with the bath water, but... as a landlord, I wouldn't mind a serious licensing of Letting Agents - not ARLA which is a joke - and good agents could benefit from this as it would sift the wheat from the chaff. Some agent I occasionally work with now and in the past, I have always asked about qualifications and experience - due diligence naturally - but... when I hire a lawyer or an accountant, they all have to either be Bar certified or Chartered. Sure, it doesn't mean they're guaranteed to be good but, right now, any fool can rent a shop front and call themselves a Letting Agent, which is bad for Landlords, Tenants and - especially - the good Letting Agents out there. The industry has to evolve as these big hybrid agencies with local agents are appearing and if I was an agency right now I'd be worried that without more credibility on the ground on the high street, they could be going like travel agencies and become extinct.

    As to the rest of the stuff about evictions and Section 21/8 - that's a gong that's being banged constantly and I'm with everyone else commenting on those points :)


    This is what RoPA is bringing to the Agency business. Easy to Google it.

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    ARLA empire building - again!


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