4 09 2012

The issue of regulation in the private rental sector has long been a bone of contention amongst industry professionals.

Some argue that, in its absence, bad practice is encouraged whilst others believe it would be an unnecessary extra layer of bureaucracy.

Housing Minister, Grant Shapps has consistently ruled against regulation but with every reported high profile case of poor practice, he comes under increasing pressure to change his stance.

Industry heavyweights are now starting to weigh into the argument and The Property Ombudsman Service (TPOS) has announced it is taking legal advice on the issue.

Belvoir has declared its support for TPOS and the movement for industry change.

For rogue traders, self regulation has not been a sufficient deterrent and whilst membership of voluntary bodies like NALS helps, it is no substitute for an effective single regulatory body.

Belvoir believes that a centralised regulator would go a long way to resolving some of the problems in the industry. Firstly, it would address the issue of authority which at the moment is absent. TPOS recently published a story about a member who had not compensated a tenant following a TPOS ruling. The only action it could take was expulsion – but the company still trades. Under new regulations prosecution would be appropriate.

Voluntary bodies such as NALS have tried to address this issue but, unlike the government, they lack the finance to implement national campaigns.

Unlike many other sectors of business, there is no recognised qualification needed to be a lettings agent and it is a major problem for the industry. Some degree of regulation would have huge benefits, ultimately encouraging good practice and the ‘sharpening up’ of many agents.

Belvoir believe that Government regulation would enable our sector to be taken more seriously. It would improve standards and ultimately the industry’s reputation.




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