Shapps says no yet again to licensing of letting agents
Tuesday 17th July 2012
Despite the continuing spate of cases whereby letting agents have collapsed with black holes in their accounts, housing minister Grant Shapps has once again rejected the idea of regulating the industry.
Shadow housing minister Jack Dromey asked him whether he planned to ‘bring forward proposals for regulation of lettings and management agents’.
But in his reply, Shapps suggested that there was already sufficient voluntary regulation.
He said: “Between a third and a half of agents belong to bodies offering voluntary regulation.
“These include trade body or accreditation schemes such as the Association of Residential letting Agents, the National Association of Estate Agents, the National Approved Letting Scheme or the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, and ensure that their members have the right protections in place and operate to certain standards.
“They also have redress systems if something goes wrong. At the same time, the industry-led initiative, SAFEagent, which was launched last September, provides a simple to recognise logo for consumers.
“In view of the existence of these schemes, I do not think that the time is right for Government-imposed regulation of the sector which would run the risk of increasing burdens and costs and, therefore, reducing supply and forcing up rents.
“The last administration’s imposition of Home Information Packs is a prime example of how excessive state regulation and intervention can harm the interests of consumers.”
Recent cases this year have included that of Canterbury agent Joseph Newman which went into liquidation owing £413,321, of which liquidators Fisher Partners say that around £350,000 is owed to landlords and tenants.
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