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Success as Government announces they are going to regulate the industry

Monday 02 October 2017

Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid MP used his speech to the Conservative Party Conference on 1 October 2017 to announce plans to introduce mandatory regulation for letting agents in England, so all agents meet strict minimum standards.

Years of campaigning

The announcement comes after 20 years of ARLA Propertymark campaigning for mandatory regulation and will be the single greatest step forward in a generation for consumer protection within the private rented sector. Regulation can do more to clean up the image of the industry than the hundreds of smaller laws and pieces of legislation passed over the last two decades.

Other measures affecting the Private Rented Sector

The speech included an announcement that landlords will be required to belong to a redress scheme with an Ombudsman, so that tenants have quick and easy resolution to disputes. Mr Javid is also promising incentives in the Autumn Budget on 22 November 2017 for those landlords "who do the right thing". He also referenced consultation with the judiciary on a new, specialist Housing Court to deliver faster and more effective justice. In measures to promote greater fairness for tenants, the Secretary of State specified that tenancies for a minimum of twelve months should be offered to those that want them and landlords shouldn’t be able to remove tenants when they have done nothing wrong without giving at least three months’ notice.

What is ARLA Propertymark doing?

Since the announcement David Cox, Chief Executive of ARLA Propertymark has met with both the Secretary of State and the Housing Minister, signalling support for the changes and outlining how ARLA Propertymark think the regulation should be introduced to address the safety and security needs of families. Both commented that they have listened to our calls for regulation, will work with us to bring forward these proposals and agree with us that this route promises a fairer and more professional private rented sector.

Regulation in other parts of the UK

We have seen regulation take different forms in different parts of the UK such as through licensing and registration with Rent Smart Wales and the forthcoming Agent Regulation in Scotland. Earlier this year the Department for Communities in Northern Ireland published proposals for significant changes to the sector including introducing Agent Regulation.

It is essential that regulation reflects the commitment to higher standards embodied by the thousands of letting agents who have chosen voluntary regulation through membership of a professional body and in doing so have demonstrated the value of higher standards.

Commenting on the Conservative’s pledge to regulate the private rented sector, David Cox, Chief Executive ARLA Propertymark, said:

“After 20 years of our campaigning falling on deaf ears, we’re very pleased the Government has taken the decision to regulate the private rented sector. This will be the single greatest step forward in a generation, in terms of consumer protection for private tenants, and will do more to clean up the image of the industry than the hundreds of smaller laws and pieces of legislation introduced over the last 20 years. However, regulation can take different forms and we need to see the detail of proposal to be confident that it will be effective for tenants and landlords.”