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Government cracks down on rogue property managers

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The Government has announced plans to crack down on rogue property managers.

The Department for Communities and Local Government says leaseholders face rip-off service charges, while renters are often overcharged for repairs.

Now the Government wants to find out more about the sector and decide if more action is needed.

The Government will consider changing the law so that all letting and management agents, across both the private rented and leasehold sectors, must be qualified and regulated in order to practice.

The DCLG has launched a call for evidence on the issue.

This will include asking how consumers can be empowered in the market, including whether leaseholder tenants should have a greater say over the appointment of managing agents.

The department will also ask for ideas on how transparency can be increased in the system so that tenants and leaseholders know what they are being charged for and why.

The call for evidence also wants to discover how to encourage fairness and openness around relations between freeholders and agents.

It will also look at what qualifications are needed by agents to practice and how regulation can be improved.

The Conservatives could set up a new independent regulatory body if needed, or separate bodies for both leasehold and private rented management, and letting agents.

Since 2010, the Government has taken action to require all letting and management agents to belong to a redress scheme.

It has also brought in a range of tougher measures to target rogue landlords and agents in the private rented sector.

While the sector is partly self regulated-through professional bodies such as ARMA and ARLA which have a code of conduct, other property agents operate outside of any system and can provide a poor deal for consumers.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid says: “This is supposed to be the age of the empowered consumer – yet in property management, we’re still living in the past.

“Today we are showing our determination to give power back to consumers so they have the service they expect and deserve, as part of my drive to deliver transparency and fairness for the growing number of renters and leaseholders.

“Our proposed changes to regulate the industry will give landlords, renters and leaseholders the confidence they need to know that their agents must comply with the rules.”

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