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MPs' idea for Rental Sector Ombudsman slammed by letting agents

Propertymark has hit out at a proposal from a group of MPs that there should be a single Ombudsman covering the entire private rental sector.

A report by the cross-party Levelling Up, Housing and Communities committee of MPs calls for the single sector-wide Ombudsman as part of a series of reforms.

The report also warns that the government’s proposed ‘sales and occupations’ grounds for eviction, outlined in a White Paper last summer, could be “too easily exploited by bad landlords and become a backdoor to no-fault evictions”.  The committee recommends a series of changes to the sales and occupation grounds to help combat what it calls “unfair eviction and insecurity of tenure.”


The report welcomes the government’s plans to introduce a legally binding decent homes standard in the private rental sector but points to a series of obstacles threatening the ability of local councils to enforce the standard, including precarious local government finances, shortage of qualified enforcement staff, and a lack of reliable data.

The report recommends the government introduce a tougher civil penalties regime in the proposed renters reform bill to ensure councils have the capability to collect financial penalties on landlords who breach standards.

On there subject of the single sector-wide Ombudsman, Propertymark’s head of policy and campaigns - Timothy Douglas - says: “Such a significant change needs thorough consideration of the implications on the system as a whole. 

“Alongside letting agents, sales and managing agents are also currently legally required to belong to one of the existing redress schemes, therefore removing these schemes and replacing with one for letting agents and landlords will have knock on effects for the housing sector which the committee has failed to realise. 

“What is needed is a single-entry point for all housing related complaints and for the UK government to extend the requirements for redress to landlords who are fully managing rented property only.”

However, Douglas backed some of the proposals from the committee. 

He continues: “It is encouraging that the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee shares our concerns that the private rented sector is shrinking. The committee has joined us in recommending a review into the impact of recent tax changes in the buy-to-let market to help inform the UK government of how we can make changes that will spur on investment and make it more financially attractive to smaller landlords.

“We are also pleased to see our evidence-based proposals are being listened to. This includes retaining fixed-term contracts in the student private rented sector, introducing a specialist housing court, fast-tracking all possession claims in respect of rent arrears and antisocial behaviour and the need for more social house building to improve investor confidence, tackle affordability and increase supply.

“The report could have gone further to acknowledge the need for regulation for letting agents and a wider approach that incorporates the six government departments that interact with the private rented sector to create a long-term strategy for the future of renting. For us to find a long-term solution, we must look holistically at the scale of the challenge and be realistic about the level of reforms needed.”

The full report can be read here.

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    • A W
    • 13 February 2023 08:49 AM

    "the need for regulation for letting agents"... because Propertymark want to become the regulator for ROPA and sell their training. Surely that's a conflict of interest?

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    A W yes you are correct. It's also quite a few criminal offences, but if an organisation is established then it can say no harm done best of intentions, that's the way it is etc. Obviously a few politicians are climbing on board and the technique is like stalking a deer, obfuscation and righteousness!


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