Posted on Monday, November 6, 2017

FSS Welcomes Letting Industry Reform

FSS has been lobbying the Government for many years to urge full regulation of the letting industry and we are delighted that action is finally being taken.

The long-awaited Draft Tenant Fees Bill has now been published, heralding a new era for the industry and, hopefully, the end of rogue agents.

The Government has unveiled plans to introduce a tenant fee ban, mandatory Client Money Protection (CMP), new minimum training standards and a requirement to belong to a recognised body.

Simon Croft, partner, said: “Here at FSS we have complied with all legislation and are highly committed to looking after our landlord and tenant clients professionally.

“We also hold separate client accounts for all funds, are audited on a regular basis and are fully insured and qualified.

“This legislation will rid the industry from unqualified agents who do not protect clients’ funds and do not offer a professional service.

“We strongly support this action and look forward to a new era in which letting agents who give the industry a bad name are disqualified from operating in the area.”

Under new government regulations letting agents would have to satisfy minimum training requirements and abide by an industry code of conduct. The introduction of a mandatory Client Money Protection scheme will prevent non-compliant agents from operating until they have membership of a recognised scheme.

The Draft Tenant Fee Bill will now go to Parliament’s Communities and Local Government Select Committee before being debated by the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

The move has also been welcomed by Chris Norris, head of policy at the National Landlords Association (NLA), who said: “The NLA is happy that the Government has listened to the evidence we presented on behalf of our members. While we remain disappointed that the Government continues to believe a cap is necessary, extending it to six weeks’ rent will reduce those households and landlords disadvantaged by the policy significantly.”

Isobel Thomson, chief executive of the National Approved Lettings Scheme (NALS), said: “The introduction of the draft Bill at least gives the sector clarity on the Government’s plans and we will consider the detail. We particularly welcome that Government has listened in relation to the level of a cap on security deposits at six weeks’ rent, something that NALS called for in its consultation feedback.”

ARLA Propertymark chief executive David Cox said:  “Having now seen the Draft Bill, it is essential that during its passage through Parliament, this legislation is shaped to make it fair to consumers, while supporting businesses to carry out the work necessary to create and maintain successful tenancies, including legal requirements such as Right to Rent checks.

“We are very pleased to see that the Government has listened to our call and increased maximum security deposits from four to six weeks, and are encouraged that it appears those tenants who wish to break their contract will have to cover the legitimate costs of finding a new tenant.”

Read the Draft Tenant Fees Bill

Read the Call for Evidence on lettings agent regulation

Read the consultation on mandatory CMP

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