Thursday, 25 April 2013

Mersey Landlords Group Renews Call for Licensing of Whole Sector

A plan by the Government to allow tenants and landlords to challenge “rogue letting” agents is a “step in the right direction” but more needs to be done to regulate the industry.

That’s the view of Richard Globe, founder of the Wirral-based Residential Property Landlord Letting Support Group, who has long campaigned for greater regulation of the residential lettings sector.

Last week the Government, which has so far resisted calls for greater regulation, backed an amendment to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform bill that would require letting agents to sign up to an ombudsman scheme.

It would also give power to the Office of Fair Trading to ban those agents who act improperly.

The residential lettings sector has a significant presence in Merseyside where many people have embraced the buy-to-let boom.

There has also been a sharp increase in the number of what Mr Globe calls “accidental landlords”, people who perhaps have been unable to sell a property and have decided to rent it out instead.

Renting out a property requires knowledge of a number of legal responsibilities towards tenants and so many property owners will turn to letting agents.

However, when the agents are not up to the job then trouble ensues.

The above proposals could become law as early as next spring but Mr Globe wants the Government to go further and consider full licensing of both agents and landlords.

He told Post Business: “This announcement means the first cracks are starting to show in the Government’s opposition to mandatory licensing.

“It is welcome as far as it goes but there is an urgent need to tackle rogue landlords as well as rogue lettings agents.

“Voluntary or self-regulation has clearly not worked.

“What we need is blanket regulation that covers the whole spectrum.”

The British Property Federation, Roya Institution of Chartered Surveyors and other groups have all backed the latest proposals.

Click here to read the original article: "Mersey Landlords Group Renews Call for Licensing of Whole Sector"