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Government regulation needed for letting agents, says ARLA

Immediate government regulation is needed following the release of census data which shows a surge in the number of people living in private rental accommodation.

The Association of Residential Letting Agents is calling on the government to take “decisive action” after 2011 census data published yesterday revealed the number of people renting from a private landlord or letting agency has risen 7 per cent since 2001, from 1.9m to 3.6m by 2011.

Standards are predicted to come under increased scrutiny as the private rental sector continues to grow.

ARLA managing director Ian Potter says: “The census data confirms what our members have already told us, that would-be home owners are increasingly turning to the private rented sector after being priced out of buying their own property.

“As the private rental sector continues to expand, it is imperative that the government takes decisive action on regulating letting agents. This will help prevent less scrupulous landlords from taking advantage of the unprecedented level of consumer demand.

“Renting should be a positive experience for both tenant and landlords, and a professional agent will be able to guide them both through the process.

“In the absence of regulation, we would always advise tenants to rent their properties through an ARLA member agent. All ARLA agents must adhere to a strict code of conduct, as well as offering client money protection and redress schemes, which protect you if things go wrong.”

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