Lettings industry unites in fight against rogue agents
By Simon Thompson
The first meeting of a letting industry talk shop about protecting money paid by landlords and tenants from unscrupulous letting agents highlights the confusion in the sector.
Letting agents are an unregulated industry and many landlords and tenants have fallen foul of firms that have closed owing them thousands of pounds in collected rents and deposits.
The firms close for several reasons the main being dishonesty and poor business management.
The government is considering regulating the industry but currently several fragmented groups are running self-regulated schemes in an attempt to clean-up the market place.
The forum seems to be the first step in the industry admitting the confusion splintered schemes give to consumers and a step towards a unified front.
The first meeting of the forum included 11 groups representing letting agents, deposit protection schemes and insurers
ARLA the Association of Residential Letting Agents
Capita an outsourcing company
The Deposit Protection Scheme (DPS)
NALS - the National Approved Letting Scheme
NFOPP - National Federation of Property Professionals
RICS Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
The Dispute Service (TDS)
UKALA UK Association of Letting Agents linked with the National Landlords Association (NLA)
The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) was a conspicuous absentee but TDS does operate the groups deposit protection service.
A published meeting note said: There was majority agreement on the importance of raising consumer awareness of client money protection (CMP) schemes; explaining how the various schemes help to protect consumers and encouraging consumers to use lettings and management agents who are covered by them.
It was agreed that all relevant information to consumers needs to be as available and as transparent as possible so that consumers are aware of what protection currently exists. It will be considered whether any improvements can be made to what is currently available and whether or not the term CMP itself needs to be redefined.
The forum agreed to meet consumers to find out how to promote CMP schemes and to share information.
Ever since the autumn statement in 2016, the potential impact of the tenant
fee ban has received widespread coverage. While many tenants were positive
about the changes it did present the prospect of a major change for the