Last week the Labour Party released an 11 page policy document to examine how best to tackle unscrupulous letting agents, end rip-off charges and how to support the growing numbers of tenants and families living in privately rented accommodation.
In the introduction to the document, Hilary Benn MP, Labour’s Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary writes: “We need a professional lettings market in which unscrupulous agents can no longer hit landlords and tenants with rip-off charges. The private rented sector should provide stability both for families who want to plan for their children’s future and for landlords who want to invest for the long term.”
Richard Lambert, chief executive officer at the National Landlords Association (NLA) had this to say in response. He said: “The NLA believes that landlords and tenants should be able to expect certain provisions when using a letting agency to ensure transparency, fairness and a degree of consumer protection.
“Our advice to all landlords is to look for agencies which have a commitment to Continued Professional Development (CPD), comprehensive Client Money Protection Insurance (CMPI), Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) and have elected to abide by a respected industry code of practice.
“Currently, these features are only available by means of membership of a recognised trade body such as The UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA), The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS) or the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
“The NLA would welcome more agencies proactively seeking out these organisations in order to provide the kind of consumer protections and assurances which landlords and tenants need to work and live in the private-rented sector.
“However, if the industry can’t provide confidence to its consumers, it has to accept that some form of regulation will inevitably follow.”