ARLA calls on Shapps to regulate private rented sector
The Association of Residential Letting Agents says it is disappointed by an announcement from housing minister Grant Shapps that he has published a series of fact sheets for tenants and landlords.
Shapps says the fact sheets will help both tenants and landlords to understand their rights and responsibilities and therefore prevent unnecessary disputes.
But the ARLA says it is disappointed that Shapps has failed to introduce any regulation of the private rented sector, and that until he does so, its own work is being undermined.
Ian Potter, operations manager at the ARLA, says: “We are disappointed that the housing minister has once again refused to implement any kind of regulation on the private rented sector.
“There is no requirement for lettings agents or landlords themselves to take any kind of professional qualification. This means their professionalism cannot be guaranteed.
“In today’s market, when people are becoming increasingly desperate to find a home, there will be increasing opportunity for unethical operators to take advantage of consumers.”
He says that the ARLA has introduced a licensing scheme for letting agents to boost consumer protection.
But he adds: “However, we have no power to force agents to become licensed and, as long as there is no centrally-led regulation, our work is being undermined.”
Shapps, on the other hand, says he does not want to over-regulate the sector because the vast majority of tenants are happy with the service they receive.
He says: “That’s why I have promised not to wrap the sector in red tape, but to instead work with the industry to help them develop their own plans to tackle those bad landlords, and with councils to throw the book at those who don’t live up to their responsibilities.
“These fact sheets are the starting point for those looking to rent or let a property, or for those landlords and tenants looking to resolve any misunderstandings that may arise. I would encourage all those in the private rented sector to read through them carefully and understand their own rights and responsibilities.”