New Letting Agents Mandatory Qualification
The 1st of April was a busy day for professionals in the rental sector across the country. Not only was this day April Fools Day and Easter Sunday, not to mention the day that MEES was introduced, the Government also introduced a crackdown on rogue letting agents. This came in the form of a mandatory code of practice and new qualifications for letting agents.
The Government has promised to bring criminal charges about agents who don’t comply with the code. A new regulator is set to be introduced and they will have responsibility for ensuring that any agents who don’t comply with the regulations will not be permitted to trade. In addition to some agents being barred from trading, any agent that has committed a serious breach could face prosecution so there are severe penalties and punishments in place with the new crackdown.
A new code of practice will hopefully protect more people in the lettings sector
In their announcement, the Government highlighted issues like unexpected costs, vague bills and poor-quality repairs as common issues that arise in dealings with rogue agents. The new code of practice has been introduced with the aim of preventing these agents from flouting the law and to improve the standard of professionalism in the management and letting agent sectors.
To this end, the Government is calling on all letting and managing agents to obtain a qualification that will be recognised countrywide. There will also be a requirement for at least one professional in an organisation to hold a higher standard of qualification.
It would be wrong to say that most agents act in an underhand manner or could be classed as rogue agents, but there is a need to focus on agents who damage the industry. If tenants are unsure of which agents to trust, it is natural that they will view all agents with a level of suspicion, and this hampers the entire sector. There may be some well-meaning agents who must improve their standards but hopefully the new regulations will be able to differentiate between rogue agents and agents who need support in their role.
There are many proposals with the new regulations
Other proposals included in the new regulations include:
- A system assisting leaseholders challenge fees that they consider to be unfair
- Assistance for leaseholders looking to switch agents after receiving poor service or having an issue with contract terms
- For all agents to carry out on-going professional development and training
While many within the sector will find these proposals to be a step in the right direction, there may not be any movement or change too soon. The Government is hoping to establish this new group as soon as possible but the final proposals may not be put in place until 2019. This may not assist people who need protection or assistance right now, but it will hopefully lead to an improvement in standards in the industry.
At Villabela, we know the lettings market is a challenging industry, and it is always of benefit to receive support and guidance. No matter what position you hold in the industry, if you require help, please get in touch and we will be more than happy to assist you.
View all News Blog