Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Government Plan to Licence Landlords and Letting Agents

This morning in a front page 'exclusive' the Times newspaper announced that the Government is set to introduce mandatory licencing of Landlords and Letting Agents throughout England and Wales. Scotland introduced mandatory licencing of Landlords in April 2006.

The Times claims that anyone letting a residential property would have to pay around £50 to register with a national body. Registered Landlords would then have to comply to certain standards. Landlords who fails to carry out repairs or intimidate tenants could be struck off.

These reforms are to be set out in a Green Paper in the next 10 days.

At the same time Margaret Beckett (pictured), the Housing Minister, also plans to introduce statutory legislation for Letting Agents. Ironically the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) is today launching it's own voluntary licencing scheme.

According to the Times Simon Gordon, of the National Landlords Association, said: “We can see the thinking behind this but we need to see the details and be reassured that this is not simply a mechanism for tougher regulations.”

NetRent.co.uk have been predicting such a move for some time and we believe that much tougher regulations will be imposed. There has been an explosion in the number of Landlords in the past 18 months fuelled by the influx of so-called accidental Landlords.
In addition many new Letting Agents have sprung up, many started by Estate Agents who cannot sell sufficient property and have turned to letting to make ends meet.
It is clear that the current legislation affecting Landlords is being ignored by a number of Landlords, either deliberately or through ignorance of the law. The majority of Landlords do comply with the law and provide decent housing, but there are an estimated 1 million Landlords now and even a small percentage of rogue Landlords adds up to a very significant number.
We will, of course, keep you informed of the progress of this proposed legislation. If you have any comments please visit The Landlords Club, our free Forum for Landlords and Agents. For more information please read The Times article.