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Graham Awards


Stricter council enforcement of landlords demanded by agents

Political parties should stop bickering and instead work together to boost enforcement of rental standards in the private sector.

That’s the view of the Lettings industry Council, a group including lettings agencies, redress and deposit schemes, Propertymark, the NRLA, Trading Standards and consumer groups. 

The council has published a briefing demanding an overarching policy that addresses all rental tenures and operating across political parties. 


Specifically it’s calling for five things: 

1. A completely new mandatory approach to compliance with physical and management standards in the PRS as a pre-condition for letting;

2. Professionalising property agents;

3. Ways to enable a massive increase in social homes and a reduction in empty homes;

4. Proposals to create more homes on small sites; and 

5. Changes to SIPP (Pension) rules to increase social rented homes

TLIC chair Theresa Wallace - who is also a senior lettings figure in Savills - says: ”Every agent should be trained to a minimum standard according to their role. Without adequate knowledge, landlords can be poorly advised and could find themselves on the wrong side of the law, with tenants’ health and safety put at risk.”

The council says that since the millennium we have seen unprecedented changes to the housing market, most noticeably to the Private Rented Sector.

The proportion of people renting privately has risen from 10% to 19% of households while those in social renting have fallen from 30% of households to just 17% today. As a result of this transfer of households from the social to private sector, 42% of private renters must rely on housing benefit.

TLIC claims this major change to the way we put roofs over people’s heads in this country has not been driven by those who invest, live or work in the private rented sector, it happened because of national and local housing policies developed without cross-Party and stakeholder input.

It goes on to say: “The problem this has unintentionally caused is that our housing crisis has worsened dramatically. Rather than collaborate with the property industry to solve the housing crisis, tenants’ needs have been pitched against landlords.

“Time and money has been invested in creating 170 laws which deliver four hundred rules and regulations for the PRS while resources to enforce these through local authorities has dropped to 2.2.officers for every 10,000 rented homes, leaving tens of thousands of renters living in sub-standard homes.

“At the Lettings Industry Council we have a different approach to fixing the housing crisis. We believe that collaboration between tenant, landlord, the industry, government, and other housing providers is the key to delivering a much-needed consistent and long-term approach to housing to ensure that everyone has a decent home in the tenure that best meets their needs.

“… We look forward to future housing policies which deliver roofs over people’s heads rather than divide our society.”

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  • icon

    The rental industry is so fragmented it's questionable if consistency can be achieved or would be desirable.

    Self managing landlords are going to put far more care into tenant selection than someone earning little more than minimum wage working for a letting agency. That doesn't necessarily mean our criteria will be the same or more stringent, just different. Many of us have decades of experience as landlords. Whereas referencing and a computer says no approach is paramount for an agent (largely so they can sell rent guarantee insurance), not all tenants can pass referencing. Should they be expected to live on a park bench because they only earn minimum wage? Very often someone who fails affordability checks will be an excellent tenant purely because they can't afford much of a social life so their home is incredibly important to them.

    In turn this means some of the numerous regulations are poorly thought through and impede our ability to appropriately manage our properties.
    Why do tenants have bedroom entitlements whereas homeowners don't?
    Why is it preferable for a single dad to share a hotel room for month after month with his 3 children than rent a 2 bedroom flat?
    Why does it take months to evict a rogue tenant when there are so many people living in temporary housing?
    Why are we supposed to allow tenants quiet enjoyment but then be blamed if they fail to ventilate the property and fill it with mould?
    Why aren't HMOs automatically licensed for the maximum number of tenants they have sufficient amenity for?

    The most effective way to fix the housing crisis is to stop over taxing landlords and to force planners to grant planning permission for far more retirement housing. Almost every person who moves into a retirement flat or bungalow will move out of a family size house. Maybe introduce some kind of Help to Buy for second hand FTB properties. Create an environment that allows people to move into appropriate housing - either owned or rented.


    Jo: Excellent analysis making powerful points and posing questions that need answers.

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    “Tens of thousands of renters living in sub-standard homes”?😡 Someone has swallowed the krap spouted by Shelter. I do not believe that the PRS has “tens of thousands of sub-standard homes. 🤬 Show me where you get this figure from or is this more evidence of Propertymark and NRLA attempting to build their empires where THEY will decide if landlords and eventually agents, are allowed to operate?🤔


    I have never seen any convincing evidence that the PRS has ‘tens of thousands’ of sub standard properties. This is the kind of gross exaggeration that has become common place and the kind of practice that undermines credibility.
    As AL says, this is the NRLA and others ‘feathering their business nests’.
    The NRLA does not represent the PRS, it is in collusion with others solely to ‘milk it’!


    AJR I've seen plenty of evidence of tens of thousands of sub standard council and social housing propertied though, these people must be getting them mixed up with private rented properties

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    Some stitch up by this Anti-private landlord Group while living off our backs. Better not use Agents now gotten too big for their boots.
    NRLA in Collusion with this Group riding rough shod over us who’s Property is it anyway no one to Represent us.
    This Article is full of Rubbish and they are getting away with it. Wednesday around the corner and it be an unsafe Law.
    Agents now want to Control us but we employ them.

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    I did respond fully but it got blocked you can’t allow truth to get in the way.

  • John  Adams

    The more these groups, associations and organisations get involved in PRS the worse the outcome for everyone. I've yet to see anything that's actually gone through that has made any improvement to the sector without decreasing supply and increasing rents as a result. I just wish these folks would go back to annoying farmers.

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    I had an agent for three years ( one of the leaders!! In the industry) during that time they left a young mother with a new baby with no heating or hot water for 6 weeks. They didn’t argue about repaying the deposit to tenants that trashed the place and in one year made more money than myself because they employed …. Wait for it……. 5 different gas engineers who couldn’t fix the problem!! I went back to managing it myself.


    Never use a corporate agent.😉

    Use a small local agency who is, ideally a SAFEagent because they at are checked annually and are usually flexible.


    My national agency forgot to protect the deposit, how much more professional can you get

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    Small local agents who are landlords them selves tend to offer a better service


    Well said, Andrew. 👍

  • Sarah Fox-Moore

    No.3. Sounds ominous! What "ways"? Which empty properties?
    Properties can be empty for a multitude of reasons, from Probate to working away, selling, renovating or being held for a family member to move into. What exactly are they trying to grab and how?

  • icon

    There are very few good agents. And even then you or US - Landlords need to keep an eye on em. I begin to wonder who the NRLA are actually have an interest in. Oh yes Just themselves .

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    The proportion Renting Privately has gone up from 10% to 19%
    The proportion Renting in Social Housing has gone down from 30% to 17%.
    So that’s a 22% Change doesn’t that prove how much better a Private Landlords Property is to Social Housing, you have your answer Tenants now Confirmed this voting with their feet.
    Its not out fault if 42% of people living in Private Accommodation are relying on Benefit we don’t make the rules and it you who are paying it out

  • icon

    Just stop all the messing around, projecting and guessing who will do this or that and who it will or won't affect!!
    No matter which way you pitch it, it's obvious the ultimate losers will be TENANTS.

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    Peter it’s both the Tenant & the Landlord anyway you look at it.
    I have Property Vacant because of this the first time in 46 years since October, it’s not palatable or do you think I’m enjoying this Rogue nonsense imposed on me.
    Do you think that I couldn’t find Tenants ? .
    What use is it to the Tenants when it’s out of their grasp because of the RENTERS REFORM BILL, so use to Landlord or Tenant, now Government looking for ways to prevent vacant property, do they not understand it’s vacant because of them so they haven’t far to look. The winners are Agents, NRLA, Arla / The Properymark. the Redress Scheme that’s not needed now going to be a big money spinner for the person behind the Scheme, like the Rampant Insurances every one now £500. +. So now talking about more inspection I am sick of them already when I had 3 inspections on one Property That been licensed 3 times and each time adding more requirements by digital academics straight out of university, now talking about more inspections to create high paid jobs for those useless high paid individuals who are missing from Thursday afternoon until Tuesday’s that’s what the inspections are for.
    I was offered £2.5k pm months ago for a vacant Property does that not tell you the dept of feeling and can stay vacant despite c/tax £2’300.00 pa but double on vacant £4’600.00 pa, good isn’t it now just force-in more quango reforms.
    Scrap Michael Gove’s stupid RRB before you completely crash the economy.


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