The Government has today issued its consultation response into protecting consumers in the letting and managing agent market. It has also published its response to the consultation on the introduction of mandatory Client Money Protection schemes for letting agents.
The responses include a number of new measures designed to protect consumers in the private rented sector:
- Creation of an independent regulator and code of practice for letting and managing agents.
- Strong powers of enforcement given to the regulator. Agents who fail to comply will not be permitted to trade.
- Possible criminal sanctions for those who severely breach the code.
- Letting and managing agents required to obtain a nationally recognised qualification to practice, with at least one person in every organisation required to have a higher qualification.
- Legislation to be brought forward to introduce privately-led Client Money Protection schemes and civil penalties of up to £30,000 for agents who fail to comply with the scheme.
Commenting on the measures, Isobel Thomson, CEO, NALS, said:
“We welcome the Government’s recognition of the current contribution that lettings and management firms play within the Private Rented Sector (PRS). Creating a level playing field will eliminate the poor practice and dishonesty that currently tarnishes the sector and ensure a safe and fair experience for tenants and landlords.
“NALS has consistently called for regulation and unreservedly supports the Government’s announcement of its intentions and strategic goals.
“Agents who already submit to self-regulation should have nothing to be concerned about.
“NALS will continue to be at the forefront of discussions over the Government’s route map.”
Read the Government’s full consultation responses: