Unlike many of our competitors, we welcomed the Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker. However, we think the Government missed the point and is dealing with the effect rather than facing up to the cause of the problem. Compulsory regulation of letting agents would have solved the problem of rogue agents.
We would like to see compulsory regulation of letting agents. Currently, very large sums of money are handled, often under no regulation, depending on the agent. Successive governments have refused to take action, preferring to keep barriers to entry low, ostensibly to promote competition. There are a whole host of reputable agents who are proud of their service and are pushing for regulation in the industry.
We structure our lettings business strategy around our aim to attract the best possible tenants for our landlords. Not only do we run our own academy to train all our staff, we are regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). We are also members of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA Propertymark) and comply with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) and The Property Ombudsman (TPO). But we don’t have to belong to all these bodies because the industry is not regulated. A law or an accountancy firm would not be allowed to trade without stringent professional controls. Why should a lettings agent be any different?
London’s first online name-and-shame database of rogue landlords will help expose unscrupulous landlords and agents, and protect people who privately rent homes – as well as giving law-abiding landlords a chance to make their mark. The Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker, launched by Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, last December, lists private landlords and letting agents who have been fined or convicted of a housing offence, including overcrowding properties, failure to carry out improvements or have the relevant safety measures in place. It also lists agents who have been expelled from any of the three official redress schemes.