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April 22

Agents Call for Stricter Council Enforcement on Landlords

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Political parties must set aside their differences and come together to strengthen enforcement of rental standards in the private sector. This call to action is underscored by the Lettings Industry Council, a coalition comprising lettings agencies, redress and deposit schemes, Propertymark, the NRLA, Trading Standards, and consumer groups. By fostering collaboration among various stakeholders, including governmental bodies and industry representatives, it becomes possible to address the challenges and shortcomings within the rental market effectively.

With rising concerns over rental standards and tenant rights, there’s a pressing need for concerted efforts to ensure that regulations are enforced rigorously. The Lettings Industry Council advocates for a proactive approach that involves not only reactive measures but also proactive strategies to prevent issues from arising in the first place. By prioritizing cooperation and dialogue among all involved parties, it’s possible to create a rental sector that upholds high standards and provides tenants with the protection and support they deserve.

The council has released a briefing urging for a comprehensive policy that covers all rental tenures and transcends political divisions.

 

Specifically it’s calling for five things: 

  1. Implementing a mandatory compliance system for both physical and management standards in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) before properties are let.
  1. Enhancing professionalism among property agents.
  2. Strategies to facilitate a substantial rise in social housing and decrease the number of vacant properties.
  3. Introducing measures to encourage the development of homes on smaller plots of land.
  1. Revisions to SIPP (Pension) regulations aimed at bolstering the availability of social rented accommodation.

 

Theresa Wallace, Chair of TLIC and a senior figure in Savills’ lettings department, emphasizes the necessity for comprehensive training for all agents, tailored to their specific roles. She stresses that without adequate knowledge, landlords may receive subpar guidance, putting them at risk of legal entanglements and compromising the well-being of their tenants.

According to the council, the housing market, notably the Private Rented Sector, has experienced substantial shifts since the turn of the millennium. These changes underscore the importance of ensuring that agents are well-equipped to navigate the evolving landscape and provide informed assistance to landlords and tenants alike.

In light of these transformations, TLIC advocates for a holistic approach to training and professionalization within the property sector. This approach seeks to establish a standard minimum level of competence for all agents, thereby enhancing professionalism and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements.

Furthermore, TLIC emphasizes the critical role that properly trained agents play in safeguarding the interests of both landlords and tenants. By investing in comprehensive training and professional development, the industry can uphold high standards of service delivery and contribute to a safer and more transparent rental market.

The proportion of households renting privately has seen a sharp increase, climbing from 10% to 19%, while social renting has experienced a decline, dropping from 30% to a mere 17% today. This shift has resulted in 42% of private renters relying on housing benefit, underscoring the heightened dependence on the private rental sector for housing needs.

TLIC contends that this significant transformation in housing dynamics has not been primarily steered by stakeholders within the private rented sector but rather by national and local housing policies crafted without comprehensive cross-party and stakeholder consultation. 

Furthermore, TLIC underscores that this unintended consequence has exacerbated the housing crisis. Instead of fostering collaboration with the property industry to address housing challenges, policies have inadvertently pitted tenants’ needs against those of landlords, further intensifying the housing dilemma.

The organization emphasizes the need for a collaborative approach involving all stakeholders to develop effective solutions to the housing crisis. This entails bridging the gap between tenants’ requirements and landlords’ interests, thereby fostering a more balanced and sustainable housing ecosystem.

“Time and money has been invested in creating 170 laws which deliver four hundred rules and regulations for the PRS while resources to enforce these through local authorities has dropped to 2.2.officers for every 10,000 rented homes, leaving tens of thousands of renters living in sub-standard homes.

“At the Lettings Industry Council we have a different approach to fixing the housing crisis. We believe that collaboration between tenant, landlord, the industry, government, and other housing providers is the key to delivering a much-needed consistent and long-term approach to housing to ensure that everyone has a decent home in the tenure that best meets their needs.

“… We look forward to future housing policies which deliver roofs over people’s heads rather than divide our society.”


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Agents Call for Stricter Council Enforcement on Landlords, Lettings Industry Council


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