ARLA calls for mandatory regulation of private rented sector

The Association of Residential Letting Agents is calling on the Government to introduce mandatory regulation of the private rented sector.

ARLA has today published a paper outlining its proposals for a new regulatory structure. It recommends the creation of an overarching industry regulator tasked with overseeing accredited industry bodies which license and promote best practice.

ARLA recommends that all companies and landlords which operate in the property sector should be required by law to hold membership of one of these accredited bodies.

Members of these bodies, namely landlords, lettings agents, managing agents and estate agents, would be required to sign up to a code of practice and be able to demonstrate minimum requirements relating to qualifications, professional indemnity, client money protection and accounting governance.

ARLA managing director Ian Potter says: “Regulating the sector is a complete win-win.  Tenants will get better quality property and have their rights and money protected; the industry will be rid of unprofessional practice and enjoy a better reputation and the Government will have a simpler system to oversee and ultimately fewer disputes to resolve.

“Failure to regulate will mean that rogue agents continue to blight the sector, damaging trust in the majority of responsible agents and resulting in poorer housing conditions and dwindling supply. We are not saying our model is the only way – we welcome the views of the wider industry and are open to debate as to which body would prove most apt for industry oversight and how regulation could, and should, work.”

The proposals have been endorsed by shadow housing minister Jack Dromey.

He says: : “The whole of the private rented sector from ARLA, representing the letting agents, through the landlords organisations, the National Landlords Association and Residential Landlords Association, to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and the British Property Federation want letting agents, like Estate Agents, to be properly regulated in the future.”