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ARLA Regulation needed to protect business of residential letting February 2009

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Other ARLA Press Releases on this site

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ARLA PRESS RELEASE - 3rd February 2009: At the ARLA conference on the 3rd February, property experts gathered to demand that British rental practices are brought into the 21st Century by introducing minimum standards for agents.

Property experts gathered today to demand that British rental practices are brought into the 21st Century by introducing minimum standards for agents

At the annual conference of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), delegates heard plans to encourage confidence in privately rented accommodation.

Dr. Julie Rugg, the author of the Rugg Review into the Private Rented sector (PRS), called for a new era of professionalism amongst letting agents, seeing their role in solving problems in the current housing market as crucial.

The 2007-2008 Survey of English Housing by the Communities and Local Government showed that the PRS has grown substantially, from 2.7 million to nearly 3.0 million in the period, its largest growth in over three decades.

This accounts for some 300,000 properties – vastly more than the total number of properties completed – 175,000 – in 2007. ARLA expects that the figures for the 2008-2009 survey will be even higher.

With declining house sales prices creating a raft of “reluctant landlords”, there is a pressing need for new standards to regulate the influx of rental properties that has been predicted to extend the market further.

In its most recent survey of its members, ARLA found that 95 per cent of its members are seeing an increase in rental property coming onto the market because it cannot be sold.

Ian Potter, Operations Manager of ARLA, said: “The state of the market demands that recognised minimum standards be introduced for all lettings agents. Historically, a light regulatory touch has undermined confidence in private renting and with an increase in rental properties there is no better time for radical reform.”

Currently, individuals with no lettings qualifications or credentials can set themselves up as an agent. The sector can, therefore, be seen as a riskier choice for consumers than other options, with bad practice tarnishing the work of professionally trained agents.

ARLA is calling for the swift introduction of a recognised, statutory minimum standard for all lettings agents to root out cowboy practices and encourage a revival in rented accommodation.

Speaker Dr. Julie Rugg, author of the Rugg Review, said: “Everybody is looking at the PRS to help us deal with our housing problems. Agents are a big part of that, making up around 60% of the market in one way or another and it’s high time they started thinking about how they step up to the plate.

“What is required is increased professionalism from agents, a better quality of service and, in particular, more commitment to ensuring each property they let is of appropriate physical quality. I see this area of selling surveying services to landlords as a big new business opportunity for agents.”

Speaking on behalf of the Government, the Junior Housing Minister Iain Wright’s representative confirmed that the Government is considering the options presented by the Review, in conjunction with other reports presented to them in 2008.

Ian Potter added: “Uncertainty and confusion continues to affect the market, so it is not surprising that consumers are demanding more transparency and greater reassurance than ever before. “ARLA is wholly committed to not only the regulation but also the licensing of all lettings agents and we will be launching our own licence in May this year.”

ARLA is the Lettings and Residential Management Division of the Federation of Property Professionals.

Source ARLA

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See also

The Golden Age for The Landlord? Rental Demand Reaches Record High ‘Generation Rent’ must be given Regulatory Protection - October 2010

Housing Minister Grant Shapps promises 'no more red tape' for private landlords - June 2010

ARLA has appointed Sue Hughes-Thomas as president - June 2010

ARLA launches buy-to-let mortgage comparison site - March 2010

Response to FSA Paper on Mortgage Lending - October 2009

Response to statistics from NLA on rental arrear-October 2009

Demand in rental market returns for the first time since recession began - 28 September 2009

Review of ARLA Agreement Magazine on Insurance - August 2009

Property Woman of the Year ARLA sponsors young property woman award at the NLA Property Women Awards 2009 - May 2009

ARLA welcomes the Government’s “historic shift in thinking” on the private rented sector towards improved industry standards - May 2009

ARLA launches new licensing scheme to protect consumer interests - Consumer interests safeguarded by letting agent licensing - May 2009

ARLA - Research Reveals Britain’s Reluctant Landlords - April 2009

ARLA demands an end to unregulated Letting agents - January 2009

ARLA Welcomes Rugg Review on the Private Rented Sector - 24 October 2008

ARLA’s Response to the Law Commission Report - August 2008 and The Law CommissionHousing: Encouraging Responsible Letting

Professional Property Organisations

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) UK

mydeposits will stick by all letting agentt- January 2009

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