The Letting Agency, based in St Ives, Cambridgeshire, on making letting fair for everyone
On October 18, government ministers outlined new plans to regulate all letting and management agents in England.
The new proposals are designed to protect tenants and leaseholders from unfair costs when agreeing on a new tenancy.
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) said that it wants to clamp down on a “small minority of rogue agents” operating property management services who force consumers to pay over-inflated charges, and will consider changing the law so that all letting and management agents must be qualified and regulated to practice.
Sajid Javid, the communities secretary, is launching a six-week “call for evidence” to establish whether a regulatory overhaul of the sector is necessary.
David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark – the Association of Residential Letting Agents – and Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark – the National Association of Estate Agents – have commented on the plans. They said: “ARLA and NAEA Propertymark welcome this announcement; we have long called for greater regulation of the housing sector. It will give consumers greater control over who manages their property, create long-needed transparency and raise the bar for those wishing to work in the housing sector.
“However, it’s concerning that estate agents don’t fall under the Government’s initial scope – we urge ministers to widen the remit to include the whole housing market.
“We are committed to ensuring consumers receive the best level of service when looking to buy, sell, rent or lease a property. Our members are required to have deposit and client money protection schemes in place, and undertake regular training.
“However, this doesn’t stop some rogue agents from giving the industry a bad name. Blanket regulation is the right approach if we are to give consumers the confidence they deserve and reassurance that they will be treated fairly, no matter which agent they use.”
Aston Robinson, partner at The Letting Agency, which operates in 15 locations across Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire, agreed that this is a positive step forward, saying: “Enforcing transparency within the property management sector is the best way to ensure landlords, tenants and leaseholders feel confident that their agent is acting professionally and ethically.
“While it may only be the minority of unscrupulous agents that load invoices with excessive charges for menial tasks, it tarnishes the reputation of the whole sector and must be stopped.
“Landlords and tenants should be able to see invoices from contractors and, in most cases, be given the option of two to three quotes to choose from before the work is carried out, particularly on more expensive maintenance works, such as boiler installations.
“The Letting Agency is working closely with our property management software provider with the aim of launching a new service that will allow far greater transparency for landlords and tenants than has been possible before.”
The Letting Agency, which has been providing property management services to landlords since 2005, recently launched an advertising campaign in Cambridge. Neil Wise, managing director, said: “With offices in both St Ives and Royston we have been regularly called out to manage properties in Cambridge over the years.
“With the expansion of our sales business ‘WellingtonWise’ into Cambridge, it made perfect sense to increase our staff numbers and fully advertise in the city. We’ve had a fantastic reaction so far from landlords who have moved over to use our services.”
As with all government plans there is a possibility that details could change, however, it is looking highly likely that some form of enforcement will be brought in.
If you are thinking about a buy-to-let property investment or already have a portfolio that you manage and would like some advice, contact Aston Robinson on 01223 776677 or email email@example.com.