Responding to a government consultation into tackling rogue landlords and agents, Richard Blakeway, the deputy mayor for housing, land and property, called for a number of new measures to be introduced.
In a letter to housing minister Brandon Lewis, Blakeway said “significant improvements” had been made in cleaning up the industry, but said more could be done.
In particular he has called on the government to look into:
- A requirement on portal adverts to carry information about the specific fee payable for the advertised property in order to improve consumer understanding and choice
- A compulsory requirement for letting agents to have Client Money Protection
- A requirement that approved redress schemes contribute to a publicly accessible database of all registered agents to improve access for renters and enforcement bodies
- Proper enforcement of the ASA ruling on letting agent fee transparency, and subsequent clauses in the Consumer Rights Act.
- Adoption by government of the recently developed PRS Code of Practice, which should be made compulsory for all letting agents. This would become their standard against which professional bodies and ombudsmen schemes would hold their members to account
Blakeway also said he would welcome the government exploring the idea of whether the Mayor of London could be given powers over letting agent redress schemes in the capital, in order to make London Rental Standard accreditation and training compulsory for London agents.
The letter said: “Poor practice amongst letting agents is as detrimental to the rental sector as criminal landlords. Having consulted with senior representatives of the lettings industry, it is clear to the Greater London Authority that there is strong support for further measures to clamp down on those who are failing to meet legal and industry standards.
“These would be built on the significant improvements in letting agent regulation that took place in the last Parliament, including the introduction of compulsory redress.
“The GLA believes the proposals would be relatively straightforward to implement and would dramatically improve the consumer experience of renters.”
He signed off the letter by saying: “I would welcome a discussion with you at some stage about the proposals.”
Story extracted from Property Industry Eye.